Has A Child Been Sexually Abused At School?
We’ve heard about school children who have suffered sex abuse by adults at school, but we don’t often hear about children who suffer sex abuse by their peers at school.
Sex abuse by peers against each other is not the norm, but it happens more than many parents are aware. San Diego-based Lewis Law, has represented child sex abuse victims as young as 5- and 6-year-olds who are harmed by lewd acts and sexual abuse. The perpetrators may be their friends, often in the same grade.
Sexual Abuse By Students Is A Problem
The adult teacher, bus driver, counselor, janitor and others are the ones we hear about on the news: those adults who molest and cause irreparable harm to children. Our system of justice will punish the adults, but our young student victims are often forgotten by the school, sometimes accused of being the perpetrator or even a co-participant in a sexual attack. These student victims may continue to suffer irreparable harm, haunting their nights and days.
Schools have a duty to protect students from harm, including protection from sex abuse by peers. Schools must be safe spaces where our children can learn. For the most part, they are, but sometimes bad things happen.
We Have Experience With These Cases
In a recent case, Lewis Law represented a 7-year-old victim of sex assault by two peers who were in the same classroom. The school denied it had a duty to protect the students from sex abuse. The court issued an order against the school district, finding the school’s legal duty to supervise is well-recognized. The perpetrator peers were charged with committing lewd acts on a minor and were adjudicated in juvenile court.
A person of any age can be sexually abused. Our attorney represented children in first grade, where there was touching and penetration between two boys. The school in that case argued that the children were merely curious. California’s Child Protective Services (CPS) disagreed.
Often, the victim will not talk about the sex abuse. The physical abuse can be documented by medical examination, but the emotional trauma is often far greater in scope and lasts longer. The victim may be silent and afraid. The mind may repeat the trauma in nightmares or even during the day when some sound or vision brings up the attack again and again.
Sex abuse is not limited to acts of touching, penetration or rape. Sex abuse can be verbal or online harassment, stalking or exposure of private body parts.
Take Action Promptly
What should you do if you or your child is a victim of sex abuse, assault or rape? A medical doctor and mental health professional should be consulted immediately even if there are no outward signs of harm. The victim and parents should complain to the school, CPS and even the police.
Your lawyer will handle the legal hurdles. The medical professional will help with physical and emotional challenges. What are your child’s rights as a victim of sex assault, battery, rape, harassment, stalking or exposure? Who will protect those rights? Lewis Law is here to help.
Let Us Review The Facts Of Your Case
We welcome the opportunity to review the facts of your case and recommend the next steps to take. Call 619-758-3486 or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.