There have been several cases against the religious organizations over sexual abuse during recent years. Here’s some information related to common questions people have about sexual abuse by a reigious organization, including how you might find a sexual abuse lawyer.
What Do Church Sexual Abuse Lawyers Do?
It’s a serious violation of trust in every way for a member of the clergy to sexually abuse a young member of the church. Sexual abuse lawyers who specialize in the this area of practice help to make sure that priests and other clergy members are held accountable for their actions, and that victims are awarded compensation.
There’s been a long history of abuse in the Catholic church, but in more recent years, lawyers and others have been calling the church to task for what they’ve done, making sure victims have some recourse.
There are numerous advocacy groups showing that abuse survivors from the Catholic Church are not alone, and that this has been a persistent problem, not only in the U.S. but around the world. In many of these cases, it’s sexual abuse lawyers with experience litigating these cases that helped the victims.
What Does the Catholic Church Do About Sexual Abuse?
The church has its own laws and guidelines, however, in the end, the church will often act to protect itself first. These laws were established in 1917 and 1983 and relate to the 6th commandment. In the past, however, despite these laws, the Church has transferred priests who are known abusers in order to hide abuse. If you want to pursue justice under civil laws that are meant to protect you, contact a lawyer specializing in church/religious sexual abuse cases.
In general, many people have been rather unimpressed with how much the Catholic Church has tried, or rather not tried, to fully correct the problem. This is the reason why it’s often only litigation that offers any chance for real change and an opportunity for victims to try to put their lives back together.
What Happens If I Don’t Use a Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Lawyer?
In general, the answer to this question is often that nothing happens at all. Given the number of cases, it’s often hard to gain people’s attention on your own if you don’t use a lawyer, and filing a case is not going to be possible, generally, if you don’t employ the services of an attorney.
The effects of failing to act on the injustice of this nature are often severe and far-reaching. It’s quite common for sexual abuse victims from the Catholic Church to suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, for example.
It’s also common for people to have a crisis of faith after something like this happens.
What Are the Long Term Effects of Sexual Abuse from the Church?
The long-term effects of sexual abuse of this nature can be quite severe. It’s exactly the type of event that tends to lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It can even lead to complex versions of the illness since many abusive situations in the Catholic church weren’t just one-time events.
They are often ongoing. As a result, permanent damage can be done to the victim’s mind. They could see the event happening over and over again for the rest of their lives. These are called “flashbacks.” The event could make it so that the victim can never have a normal sexual relationship. More than that, they could have trouble having relationships of any kind. It often happens in severe cases like sexual abuse, that a victim is crippled and has severe trouble even holding the simplest of jobs.
In other words, without the help of a monetary resolution, victims of abuse could have trouble having any chance of living a normal life just in terms of financial security. PTSD from sexual abuse in the Catholic Church can be that disruptive. There’s also the fact that it isn’t a random encounter, it’s often happening from the people that a young parishioner has known their entire life. It can completely interrupt a person’s ability to ever feel safe again.
Many victims will have to spend many years in treatment. Compensation for the abuse is needed just to give individuals a chance to recover from the abuse and have a chance to live a healthy and productive life.
These are the potentially negative outcomes from not seeking a legal solution, depending on the situation.
How Do I Know Whether I Should Seek Damages for Sexual Abuse in the Church?
Many victims who survive sexual abuse from the church face the question of whether they should find a Catholic Church sexual abuse attorney or not. This is certainly a very personal thing and the answer will likely be different for each individual.
There’s no absolute right or wrong way answer. The victim must decide for themselves along with help from advisory groups and the guidance of their friends and family what is the right course of action.
Some items you can pursue damages over include:
- Pain and Suffering
This is an item that applies to many lawsuits seeking damages, but it is particularly appropriate in the case of sexual abuse by the Church. Victims could remember the pain of what happened for the rest of their lives. That pain may never go away ever. Many jurors have given large sums of money to victims to compensate them for this.
- Physical and Psychological Treatments
Depending on the severity of the abuse and its effect, there could be the need for physical treatments, but it’s more common for there to be the need for psychological/emotional treatment. Many disorders can result from abuse within the church, including PTSD, anxiety, depression, and other forms of emotional distress.
- Lost Relationships and Other Losses
The victim may not be able to go to their church anymore. They may have lost friends and family over the situation if these individuals didn’t believe the victim about what happened or blamed the victim for any reason. Additionally, there could be a loss of trust in general and a lack of desire for any type of relationship following sexual abuse.
In some instances the Catholic church or religious organization could be responsible for damages to punish the perpetrator and the organization who permitted the abuse. Some damages could also be “statutory” in nature depending on the specific situation.
Are There Other Legal Options I Should Consider Against the Catholic Church?
Beyond seeking monetary damages, there are potentially other legal remedies available. One of these includes something called “injunctive relief.” This means that you and your Catholic Church sexual abuse lawyer ask the church to do something specific beyond a monetary settlement. It’s happened before where abuse survivors have managed to have the court force, different groups, within the Church to be proactive to stop these abuses from happening again.
The best sexual abuse attorneys can advise victims about their options and guide them towards a resolution that truly feels like justice has been served.
Something may also be done to prevent accused priests and clergy away from contacting victims as part of an injunction. A permanent injunction requiring separation is a longer-lasting version of a restraining order.
There is the possibility of criminal prosecution of the perpetrator, and some attorneys can help provide guidance. Ultimately however, the ability to criminally prosecute is dependent on the laws of the jurisdiction where the abuse occurred.
In the end, it’s often being required to pay monetary damages may do the most to deter others from repeating such abuse and to punish religious organizations from having allowed the abuse to happen. A monetary award often makes the most difference in the lives of victims as they can pay for short term and long term treatment and may provide long-term financial stability if they are unable to work.
Getting Started with a Sexual Abuse Lawyer
It’s important to find a Catholic Church sexual abuse lawyer that has experience specifically in this field since there can be points of law that would apply more specifically in this instance than in others.
For more information on how to do this, please don’t hesitate to contact us today to speak with a knowledgeable and compassionate Sexual Abuse lawyer. You can get a free consultation that will allow the lawyer to carefully assess your situation and then determine how to best help you and your case.
The quicker you contact us, the quicker we can get started making sure that you receive the best representation possible and ideally provide a road to recovery.