Information Regarding Child Sexual Abuse Claims
Child sexual abuse claims by abused minors may be brought by their parents if they are still minors or by the minors themselves once they are adults. But victims must act quickly after reaching the age of majority as there are time limitations.
Lasting Impacts of Child Sexual Abuse
Child sexual abuse has serious and lasting psychological consequences, including:
Sexual dysfunction Self-mutilation
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Impairment in interpersonal functioning
There is another consequence of childhood sexual abuse. Those who were sexually abused in childhood are at a far greater risk of being sexually re-victimized later in life. Research over the past decade has consistently shown that those who were sexually victimized as a child or adolescent are far more likely to be sexually assaulted later in life. One study found that former victims of child sexual abuse are 35 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than non-victims.
Most former victims of child sexual abuse experience a lot of shame and self-blame. These two factors are by far the most damaging effects of child sexual abuse and increase the likelihood of re-victimization more than does any other effect. Shame is also related to an avoidant coping style, as the person who is shame-prone will be motivated to avoid thoughts and situations that elicit this painful emotional state.
Catholic Church Sex Abuse Claims
In recent years, the Roman Catholic Church has settled numerous sexual abuse claims filed against accused priests by victims of clergy abuse, with dioceses across the United States having paid more than $3 billion.[i] The average settlement for clergy sex abuse victims is approximately $268,000. However, some survivors have been awarded larger sums. For example, each victim in the Los Angeles Archdiocese 2007 settlement received approximately $1.3 million.
Many thousands of survivors of clergy abuse have struggled with psychiatric problems and substance abuse, and hundreds have taken their own lives. The sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy has had massive economic consequences that far exceed the costs of civil claims – in lost earnings, increased requirements for healthcare and other services, financial effects on family members, and the cost of investigating crimes, trying the perpetrators, incarcerating them, and managing their paroles.[ii]
These types of claims are not limited to victims of the Catholic Church. Numerous other organizations have faced similar claims. Many victims are afraid to come forward and feel isolated. There are rarely single victims. Usually, there are multiple victims, some who have come forward and others who may be known to the church or organization where the perpetrator preyed.