Sexual abuse in an educational setting represents an egregious breach of trust and safety within a community. The safety of students should be the number one priority for any school/school district. Parents should be able to trust that their children are safe and secure at school. At Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Littky-Rubin & Whitman, we understand the courage and bravery that it takes for a survivor to share his/her story, and we are unwavering in our commitment to supporting victims of sexual abuse. Our expertise lies in adeptly handling these complex cases, assisting survivors achieve justice by holding institutions accountable for their failure to protect the safety of their students. No amount of money can take away the abuse, but our hope is that a monetary recovery represents justice being served.

Identifying Perpetrators and Understanding Power Dynamics

In the majority of school sexual abuse cases, the perpetrators are individuals in positions of authority, including teachers, coaches, administrators, and other staff members. Oftentimes, the child knows the perpetrator prior to the act(s) of abuse taking place. This abuse can manifest anywhere within the school’s confines—from classrooms to locker rooms, even extending to off-site activities. The power imbalance inherent in the educator-student relationship provides fertile ground for abuse, often compounded by opportunities for isolation.

The Silent Epidemic: Underreporting of Sexual Abuse in Schools

A significant hurdle in combating school sexual abuse is the pervasive underreporting of such incidents. Victims may be silenced by fear, shame, and the stigma associated with abuse, particularly when the perpetrator holds a position of authority. This reluctance to come forward means that the true extent of the problem is likely much greater than reported statistics suggest, underscoring the need for supportive environments that encourage victims to report abuse.

Ways that Parents can Prevent and/or Stop Child Sexual Abuse

  • Establish an open line of communication with your child. Talk to your child after school every day and inquire what he/she did and who he/she interacted with.
  • Explain concepts of your child’s private areas and why those areas are off limits to others. Talk about what is appropriate touching and what is inappropriate touching.
  • Ask questions about adults who seemingly spend too much time to your child or appear to be giving too much attention to your child. This is often “grooming” behavior.
  • If your child expresses that he or she is uncomfortable with a person/activity at school, ask questions.

Types of Sexual Abuse in Schools

Sexual abuse within schools encompasses a broad spectrum of abusive behaviors, both contact and non-contact:

Contact Sexual Abuse: This includes rape, sodomy, penetration with objects or fingers, inappropriate touching (whether the victim is clothed or not), kissing, and engaging in sexual activities with minors, including sexual relationships or intercourse with students.

Non-contact Sexual Abuse: This involves exposing children to sexual activities or pornography, indecent exposure, masturbating in front of children, coercing children into masturbation, taking sexually explicit photos or videos of children, sexual harassment, and trafficking.

Your Rights as a Victim

Victims of school sexual abuse are entitled to specific rights aimed at safeguarding their well-being and ensuring access to justice. These rights include confidential reporting, protection from retaliation, and the pursuit of legal action against both the perpetrators and, potentially, the educational institution for failing in protect the safety of its students.

Our extensive experience has shown that survivors and their families often have numerous questions regarding their rights, the reporting process, and the potential for legal recourse. We’ve compiled a list of FAQs to address these common concerns, offering clarity on what constitutes sexual abuse in schools, how and to whom abuse should be reported, the liabilities of educational institutions, the types of evidence that support a claim, the importance of timely legal action, the possibility of anonymity in legal proceedings, and the compensation victims might expect.

You deserve seasoned litigation that cares about you and your life—call 561-899-2100 for a free case consultation!

Sexual Abuse in Schools: Advocating for Change and Supporting Victims

At Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Littky-Rubin & Whitman, we do more than just represent survivors in their individual cases; we strive for systemic change to prevent future abuses. Our approach involves working closely with survivors and their families to navigate the complex legal landscape, ensuring their voices are heard and their rights are protected. We are dedicated to creating a safe space for survivors to share their stories and seek the justice they deserve.

The Critical Role of Prevention and Education in Sexual Abuse in Schools

Effectively combating sexual abuse in schools requires a concerted effort from all involved parties, including educational institutions, parents, and legal professionals. Our firm actively champions the development and implementation of comprehensive prevention strategies, educational programs, and policies that foster a culture of safety and respect within schools.

Were You Sexually Abused? Contact Clark Fountain Today

If you or someone you know has been sexually abused in a school setting, it’s imperative to seek skilled legal counsel. Our firm provides confidential consultations to help you understand your rights, explore your legal options, and outline a path forward to address the harm you’ve experienced.

Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Littky-Rubin & Whitman is committed to delivering the highest level of legal representation and support to survivors of sexual abuse. Reach out to learn how our experienced attorneys can guide you through your journey to healing and justice, ensuring that your case is handled with the care, sensitivity, and expertise it deserves.