Pittsburgh Lawyers for Institutional Sexual Abuse Victims
If You’ve Been Sexually Abused by an Authority Figure, Here’s Why You Should Call Us
Whether we are trusting our children, our loved ones, or ourselves to someone else’s care, we do all we can to make sure they’ll be in the best of hands. Unfortunately, abusers may be good at lying and covering their tracks. Sexual assault isn’t the only type of abuse people may experience while under another’s authority, but it can be highly damaging and hard to prosecute in criminal courts. We want to give you another avenue for justice.
Institutional abuse is a blanket term that can cover many populations and situations. It refers to any instance of mistreatment by authority figures at an establishment one is reliant upon for care. Victims may face abuse in:
- Residential care facilities
- Foster care homes
- Private/boarding schools
- Homeschool groups
Does this sound like something you or a loved one experienced? Often, people caught in these situations have no way out. Their complaints may be funneled to their abusers and contact with others may be limited. Authority figures often either threaten victims to keep them from reporting the assault or, through negligence, allow it to continue even after receiving credible reports. The injustice can be emotionally devastating.
We want to help those who have come through these situations and are looking for justice. Reports of criminal sex abuse are too easily ignored or dismissed by police and prosecutors. In the rare event of a conviction, the victim(s) do not get any personal recourse. By suing your abuser, you can bring them to justice and recover the compensation you deserve.
Who Might Be Abused?
Most of us are, at some time in our lives, dependent on other people and/or organizations. In such a relationship, dependents are vulnerable to many types of abuse.
Especially in situations where staff do not face background checks and/or receive training, where there is little or no supervision, and where open communication is not encouraged, abuse may thrive. It may affect one person or many. It may be a one-time occurrence or a continuing pattern. Some examples of institutional sexual abuse include:
- Elders who are assaulted by caregivers or other residents in a care home
- Elders who are assaulted by caregivers who assist them at home
- Children who are in the foster system or the custody of the state
- Children who are involved in church or church youth groups
- Schoolchildren, especially those in private and/or boarding schools
- Children who attend homeschool groups
- Children who are involved in community groups
- Children with disabilities who are enrolled in special care programs
- People with disabilities who live with or have in-home caregivers
- People with disabilities who live in residential care facilities
- Athletes who rely on a certain coach or staff member to advance their abilities
- Suspects who are kept in police custody
- Inmates at jails or prisons
Other people and groups could also be at risk. There are countless institutions we rely on from day to day or in dire situations. If you have been sexually assaulted in one of these places, you could be able to sue.
Abuse Isn’t Always an Isolated Problem
When talking about sexual assault, many people treat it as a horrible crime executed by one misguided individual. This does not reflect the reality of sexual abuse.
In many cases, the problem rises all the way to the top of an organization. Authority figures may cover up reports of sexual abuse or simply ignore them. Some institutions try to handle all reports of sexual abuse internally, which can allow known assaulters to escape punishment and, sometimes, remain in a position that allows them to victimize others.
Tacit organizational support does not absolve any individual perpetrator from blame, but it may allow victims to hold multiple figures accountable. When an entity is negligent or intentionally disregards those it has promised to protect, it may also be held liable in an abuse case. Widening the scope of an institutional abuse challenge not only helps you hold everyone involved in the situation accountable—it can also protect others from experiencing the same sexual violence you did.
Our Institutional Abuse Lawyers Are Ready to Help
Coming forward to speak about your abuse can be difficult, especially if you have been silenced before. We understand that the decision to file a lawsuit can be difficult to make. We are completely client-oriented and make compassion a regular part of our practice. If you’re not ready to sue, we won’t push you into it. However, we do believe that every victim of sexual abuse should know what their legal rights are.
When you file a civil lawsuit, you have the chance to penalize your abuser in ways that others have failed to do. The compensation you receive can also help you access counseling, therapy, and other treatment you need to heal from the hardship you’ve been through. It can be key to moving forward with your life.
If you want to speak with our team about your experiences of institutional sexual abuse, we always offer free and confidential consultations. You can take the first step by calling (844) 383-0565 or sending us an online message .