Nothing is more heinous for a victim, a family, and even a community than the sexual abuse of a child. Sexual abuse of children can create life-long emotional, physical, and psychological injuries, and these can create enduring complications for children with their relationships and their view of themselves.
Virginia has strengthened its laws in favor of civil plaintiffs in child sex abuse claims. To begin with, Virginia’s General Assembly recently expanded the time that a victim of sexual abuse has to file a sexual abuse claim against their attacker. Under Virginia’s current statute of limitations, a victim of sexual abuse may have decades after the abuse occurs to file a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator.
In addition to suing the person who committed the sexual abuse against a child, the circumstances of the abuse may permit a lawsuit to proceed against the defendant’s employer or the owner of the property where the abuse occurred. Such claims against parties other than the attacker typically arise against schools, churches, childcare centers, or other institutions due to abuse committed by teachers, coaches, priests, clergy members, or other employees. There may also be claims against employers or other parties who owed a special duty to the victim but failed to take reasonable steps to protect the victim from the abuse.
Additionally, in cases where abuse occurred over a prolonged period of time due to repeated or multiple instances of abuse, it may be the case that someone associated with or close to the attacker was aware of the abuse, or should have been aware of the abuse, but failed to take steps to stop it from occurring. In these situations, it may be possible to proceed with a lawsuit against that party for failure to take steps to prevent or stop the abuse from occurring.
Claims against the abuser may proceed on a number of legal theories, including assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED). Similarly, the victim of sexual abuse may have claims against employers and other institutional defendants for a variety of negligence-based causes of action, including negligent hiring, negligent supervision, or negligent retention.
The Virginia Child Sexual Abuse Attorneys of MartinWren, P.C. are particularly sensitive when pursuing childhood sexual abuse claims, especially when the victim of the abuse is currently a small child. Our lawyers take special steps to prevent additional harms or injuries from occurring to the sex abuse victim, and we seek, to the greatest extent possible, to minimize the involvement of the child and cooperate with close family members, police, prosecutors, law enforcement officials, and other individuals who are able to provide necessary evidence and information to pursue a civil complaint against wrongdoers.
If you, one of your children or family members, or a close family friend have been a victim of childhood sexual abuse, it is important that understand and preserve the rights that are available to you. To learn about your rights and to see if you have a civil claim for sexual abuse that has occurred, please contact Robert E. Byrne, Jr. or Jonathan T. Wren, MartinWren, P.C.’s Virginia Child Sex Abuse Attorneys, at (434) 817-3100. Our representations are free, are highly confidential, and will inform you of your options for proceeding.
You will not owe any legal fees unless we recover money for you.