Who Should Bear the Cost of Childhood Sexual Abuse
People who have experienced childhood sexual abuse are often told that it is unfair to amend a statute of limitations to allow them to seek justice for the abuse they suffered as children. It is argued that the “good works” of churches, schools and youth organizations will be undermined if survivors are allowed to bring claims for conduct that occurred beyond the immediate past.

It is undeniable that the consequences of childhood sexual abuse are severe. It is also undeniable, but not appreciated by the proponents of this line of thought, that unless statutes of limitations provide survivors with meaningful access to civil courts, those who are otherwise legally and morally responsible for the abuse will not be held liable. On the contrary, the survivor, their family, their employer, their community, the system of public health programs, and taxpayers are the ones who bear the burden. Is this a fair situation? There is no logical reason for society to bear the costs of institutional wrongdoing instead of the guilty institutions themselves. Under the law, there should be a reasonable time period to allow survivors of abuse to bring claim against the most guilty and against a liable third party – those institutions who knew of the danger and had the best opportunity to prevent it but failed to take steps to protect children from abuse.

The consequences of childhood sexual abuse are wide-ranging and far-reaching. Surviving such abuse carries an increased risk of health problems and behavioral difficulties. According to research conducted by the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program in cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control, children who are exposed to adverse childhood experiences, such as sexual abuse, are at an increased risk of developing significant health issues later on in their lives, including the onset of some forms of cancer in adulthood. As an adult, those who have experienced childhood sexual abuse report more symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and are more likely to experience major depressive disorders as well. It is also important to note that childhood sexual abuse can lead to the development of a variety of addictions and substance abuse.

It is important to note that the effects of childhood sexual abuse go beyond individual problems. The health and behavioral problems survivors face have negative implications both within the family and at the workplace. The downstream effects of the abuse lead to emotional, physical, and financial losses for third parties involved in the survivor’s life, years or decades after the abuse has taken place. Public health programs, including Medicaid, are often accessed by survivors whose childhood experiences have affected their adult life.

Research shows that the average survivor of childhood sexual abuse does not fully remember or come to terms with what happened until decades later. Public policy and morality both argue against limiting a victim’s access to justice simply because of the passage of time.

If you or a loved one has survived sexual abuse, the team of attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark Yablonovich is here to help. Call us today at (888) 306-4228 for a free, confidential consultation.

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