At Cifarelli Law Firm, we are dedicated to pursuing those who neglect, abuse, or molest minors, as well as the organizations that have failed to protect these victims from such offenses. It is not unusual to see someone who has admitted to these crimes still allowed to work in positions that give him or her access to minors. This may include coaching, teaching, tutoring or volunteering for an organization that serves youth. We believe the organizations who allow this behavior should be held responsible, and that the continued employment of admitted offenders only offers the opportunity for more victims to be abused.
The effects of neglect, abuse, and molestation are long lasting. Often, the minor victim suffers with the abuse for months or years only to spend decades trying to overcome the physical and emotional scars. Giving these young people a voice, finding justice for them and, ensuring they get the best care and support possible are key in helping them overcome the devastating effects.
In many cases, these young victims and their families feel that even the criminal justice system is failing them. One way to overcome this is by enlisting the help of an attorney experienced in working with minors who have survived this type of abuse. A personal injury lawyer who is well-versed in these cases can help them obtain redress from the abusers and those who allowed the abuse to take place through civil suits. While these tort actions cannot undo the damage done by neglect, abuse, or molestation, it can pay for therapy and other services that aid in their recovery.
Child Abuse: A Terrifyingly Common Reality
As hard as it may be to believe, more than three million reports of child abuse are filed each year in the United States. And this is only the number of cases that find their way into the hands of law enforcement.
While it would be nice to believe abuse or molestation against a minor victim is rare, Estimates by the organization National Action Against Rape (NAAR) show that this isn’t the case. In fact, the organization believes that the number may be as high as one out of every three adults suffered some form of abuse during childhood. In the great majority of cases, this abuse occurred at the hands of an adult — a family member, youth leader, teacher, coach or clergy member — that the child knew and should have been able to trust.
Where Does Abuse Occur?
Most abusers meet their victims in places where the young victims should feel safe. In many cases, the perpetrators are adults who have earned their trust because of their positions within these organizations.
One of the most common places minors are abused is within their own homes, or at the home of a relative. Home is the most common place for physical abuse, emotional abuse and neglect, and many young victims are molested by trusted adults or teens in their homes as well. It is important to remember, however, that molestation can occur anywhere.
Young people spend a lot of their waking hours in school, so it is no surprise that someone hoping to victimize a minor would seek work at a school. Victims may be subject to teasing, sexual harassment or molestation by a faculty member, school staff and even other students.
Victims may also meet their abusers during afterschool programs, including daycare centers, scouts, YMCA/YWCA programs and other activities. If the employees working with minors in this program were not properly screened or if there is an attempt to cover up any reported instances of abuse, these organizations may also be at fault.
Similarly, abusers may meet their young victims by volunteering or working for companies that offer extracurricular activities to minors. This often includes youth sports. In most cases, young people learn skills, get exercise and have fun playing on a sports team. When a coach or other adult uses this relationship to molest or otherwise abuse them, the negative effects can be lifelong, however.
Abuse, especially molestation, by clergy members gets a lot of media attention. The sad truth is that it is not only Catholic priests who use their trusted positions within their religious organization to abuse their youngest parishioners. As has been widely covered on the news, many of the churches where these offenses have taken place have denied that their leaders had any involvement, and these men and women were allowed to continue working with young people. This means these organizations are contributing to the abuse, and should also be held accountable.
Modern technology also allows strangers into almost every home in the United States, thanks to the Internet. Even if the victim and the perpetrator have never met in person, exposure to cyber stalking, sexual harassment, or a cyber bully all have a profound impact on the lives of young victims. Abusers often take this a step further, attempting to lure the minor into participating in unwanted activity or going as far as child trafficking.
Cifarelli Law Firm Can Help
Those under the age of 18 rely on adults to protect their health and safety, and to fight for their rights to live a life free of abuse and torture. For this reason, some personal injury attorneys specialize in filing suits against abusers and the organizations who cover up their behavior. These attorneys, including the Cifarelli Law Firm, hold all who abuse or molest minors accountable for their reprehensible acts.
Cifarelli Law Firm has experience advocating on behalf of young victims of molestation and abuse. Our attorneys are well-versed experts in all areas of abuse and related offenses, including molestation. Our staff is compassionate and understanding, yet aggressive and experienced enough to fight for the rights of these young people.
Recovering from victimization of this type is a long and difficult road for these young people and their families, but compensation for the emotional, mental and physical injuries sustained can help to pay for counseling and other resources that may speed recovery.
About Cifarelli Law Firm
Cifarelli Law Firm is a personal injury practice based out of Los Angeles, California. In addition to abuse and molestation cases involving minors, other areas of practice include:
The Cifarelli Law Firm offers free consultations to the victims of abuse, molestation and personal injuries. To talk with a trusted Orange County child abuse and injury attorney, contact us by phone today at (949) 502-8600.