Institutional sexual abuse can be particularly destructive for adult and underage victims. Placing your wellness in the hands of an organization that’s purpose is to care for you makes the trauma even worse when its employees betray your trust.
If you or a loved one is an institutional sexual assault survivor, the experienced attorneys at Nessler & Associates can help you pursue civil actions for restitution.
What is Institutional Sexual Abuse?
Institutional sexual abuse is when someone who is a part of an institution and holds a position of power over another exerts that influence by assaulting or molesting a victim.
For example, children depend on their teachers for their education and intellectual growth. If a teacher abuses that relationship by sexually molesting a student, it is categorized as institutional sexual abuse.
Types of Institutional Sexual Abuse
Sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, and sexual misconduct are forms of sexual abuse that occur in an institutional setting. Sexual harassment is any request for sexual favors, unwelcome sexual advances, or physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature.
Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual contact, including rape. Under Illinois law, threatening to use force or knowing that the victim cannot understand the nature of the impending act also constitutes sexual assault.
Sexual exploitation is when someone in a position of power or trust commits sexual abuse, such as a teacher exploiting a student. Sexual misconduct is any form of sexual behavior that is not welcome or consensual.
All these forms of sexual abuse are illegal and can have lasting effects on sexual abuse victims. If you have been a victim of sexual abuse, it is essential to seek help from a qualified professional who can help you heal from your experience.
You may see therapy from a mental health provider such as a counselor or psychologist. They can help you process emotions surrounding the abuse. A psychologist can also assess you for mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that result from your abuse.
It is also essential to speak with a personal injury attorney who can hold predators accountable in a civil case and pursue the compensation you need to put your life back together.
Sexual abuse by religious clergy members is a widespread and disturbing problem. Because the religious institution provides the clergy member a sense of trust and power, it creates an environment where potential victims may feel unable or unwilling to come forward with accusations of sex abuse by priests.
In addition, religious institutions may be reluctant to take action against accused clergy members, fearing that it will damage the church’s reputation. As a result, religious organizations often fail to report and address sexual abuse from religious clergy members.
Sexual abuse at school
Abuse of students is a serious problem in public schools. Educator-student abuse includes everything from inappropriate comments and touching to rape. The majority of victims are female, but male students are also at risk.
Student harassment is also prevalent in higher education and private educational institutions. With students often hundreds or thousands of miles away from home, the lack of family support plays an important role. Predators take advantage of students’ isolation from their loved ones for committing their shameful actions.
The Jerry Sandusky case at Penn State is one of the most well-known examples of institutional sexual abuse. The former assistant coach at one of the most successful college football programs in the country committed abuse on 8 young boys over 15 years.
A $490 million settlement for a University of Michigan sexual abuse scandal is one of the most prominent cases involving institutional sexual abuse. Former sports doctor Robert Anderson abused over 1,000 people in a 40-year career at the educational institution.
Another sports doctor, Larry Nassar, was found guilty of abusing young girls while working for Michigan State University. The university was fined $4.5 million for failing to protect students.
Sexual abuse in youth organizations
Child abuse in youth organizations can have lasting effects on its victims. Several high-profile sexual abuse cases in youth organizations have come to light. The unfortunate reality that a boy or girl scout is in potential danger makes many parents hesitant to allow their children to participate in these activities.
Other than regular activities, such as sports, sexual predators may also target organizations that offer overnight camping trips or other activities requiring adults and children to be close to one another.
Sexual abuse in orphanages, nursing homes, and mental health facilities
Orphans, senior citizens in nursing homes, and mental health patients are particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse. These institutions give the sexual abuser more power over a victim because they often cannot leave the facility.
If you notice any sexual abuse signs in a child, such as frequent nightmares, sleep problems, sudden mood swings, or adult-like sexual behaviors, speak with the child to learn more. In mental health patients and senior citizens, signs such as bruises in the genital area, torn clothes, and STDs warrant further examination by loved ones and caretakers.
Whether a university physician or a gynecologist, abuse by doctors is also possible in hospitals and clinics, despite the American Medical Association’s stance that it is unethical and unwelcome conduct.
From the case of former UCLA gynecologist James Heaps abusing dozens of women over his 35-year career to the more recent case of Robert Hadden in New York, the prevalence of sexual assault by medical professionals is widespread. Victims can consider taking action against the perpetrator if they are subject to sexually harmful conduct.
Contact the Authorities
If you or your loved one experiences sexual abuse, contact the authorities and speak with a child sexual abuse lawyer to handle your claim.
The Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ICASA) is a not-for-profit organization you can contact if you need support dealing with sexual assault.
If you have a loved one who experienced sexual abuse while in prison at the hands of corrections staff, the Illinois Department of Corrections accepts anonymous calls.
Victims of clergy abuse can contact the Clergy Abuse Hotline (888-414-7678) created by Attorney General Madigan.
You can also contact the experienced attorneys at Nessler & Associates. Our compassionate attorneys will arrange a free, confidential consultation so you can share your experience and get advice on your legal options.
Civil Lawsuit for Institutional Sexual Abuse
Pursuing legal action against the institution, school teacher, youth soccer coach, or other people responsible for your institutional sexual abuse can help you get closure on your experience and move on with your life.
Legal action can help you recover damages for medical expenses or lost wages that happen due to your abuse. You can also pursue compensation for emotional distress, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life resulting from the abuse.
If you are a sexual abuse survivor, reach out to a knowledgeable sexual abuse lawyer with Nessler & Associates as soon as possible. Our experienced team of attorneys will fight for your rights to civil compensation and help you hold your perpetrators responsible for their harmful behavior.
Contact Nessler & Associates today at (800) 727-8010 to set up a free consultation to discuss your situation and help you pursue compensation.