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Parents entrust these programs and leaders to nurture their children’s talents and interests, whether in sports, the arts, or academic pursuits. This trust is built on the expectation of a safe and positive space contributing to their child’s growth.

However, instances of sexual abuse have been reported. If your child is a sexual assault survivor, please speak with an after-school program sexual assault lawyer at Silva Injury Law. 

Such incidents not only cause immediate harm but also long-lasting trauma that can affect your child for years to come. That’s why we’re committed to advocating for the rights of children and their families affected by sexual abuse in after-school programs. 

The Spectrum of After-School Programs

After-school programs can include sports like soccer and swimming, creative arts like painting and drama, and academic enrichment activities like tutoring and reading clubs. Other programs involve scouting organizations and financial literacy clubs to foster children’s well-rounded development.

While these programs offer invaluable opportunities for growth and learning, parents must remain vigilant about the environments their children are part of. That means being aware of the type of activities your children are engaged in and knowing who oversees these programs. Communicating openly with your children about the adults they interact with within these settings is vital. Please encourage your child to share their experiences and feelings about the program and its leaders, fostering an environment where they feel comfortable disclosing any discomfort or concerns.

Recognizing the Risk of Sexual Abuse

The risk of sexual abuse in after-school settings is ever-present. The nature of these programs often means that children are under the supervision of adults other than their parents, sometimes in less structured environments. This risk is compounded by the fact that these programs may not always have the same level of oversight or safety protocols as regular school hours, making it even more critical for parents to be proactive in understanding and mitigating these risks.

Recognizing the signs of sexual abuse is crucial in protecting your child. These signs can be physical and behavioral, ranging from unexplained injuries or changes in behavior to regressive actions like bedwetting or fear of being alone. A sudden reluctance to attend the after-school program or a specific activity could also be a red flag.

Immediate Steps to Take When You Suspect Abuse

Discovering or suspecting that your child has been sexually assaulted in an after-school program is a situation no parent is ever prepared for. However, taking immediate and decisive action is crucial for the safety and well-being of your child. Here is a step-by-step guide on what to do if you suspect your child has been abused:

  1. Prioritize your child’s safety. The first step is to ensure your child is no longer in a potentially harmful environment. That may involve withdrawing them from the after-school program and ensuring they are in a safe place where they feel secure.
  2. Contact the police. If your child discloses abuse, or if you have strong reasons to suspect abuse has occurred, contact the police immediately. 
  3. Support your child emotionally. Let them know they are believed and supported. Praise them for coming forward and reassure them that they have done nothing wrong. 
  4. Seek professional help. Get your child the psychological help they need. That can include counselors or therapists who can provide the emotional support and guidance your child needs to navigate through this traumatic experience.
  5. Document everything. Keep detailed records of your child’s account of the abuse, any communications with the after-school program, and steps taken after discovering the abuse. This documentation will be vital in any legal action taken.
  6. Contact a lawyer. Consult an after-school program sexual assault lawyer who has experience handling sexual assault cases. 

Silva Injury Law is dedicated to addressing sexual abuse in after-school programs. Our mission extends beyond the courtroom to empowering parents and guardians with the knowledge and tools they need to protect their children. 

Civil vs. Criminal Proceedings

Understanding the distinction between civil lawsuits and criminal cases is fundamental. Criminal sexual assault cases are initiated by the state against the perpetrator, aiming to achieve justice through legal punishment, which may include imprisonment and fines. The focus here is on penalizing the wrongdoer and deterring future offenses.

On the other hand, civil lawsuits are initiated by survivors or their families against the perpetrator and possibly the institutions involved. These lawsuits seek monetary damages for the harm suffered. Because these are two distinct cases, survivors can still bring a civil case even if criminal charges are pending. 

Compensation for Victims

In civil lawsuits related to sexual abuse in after-school programs, survivors may seek compensation for various types of damages. These damages include:

  • Medical expenses. Covers the cost of any medical treatment resulting from the abuse, including emergency services, hospital stays, and ongoing medical care; 
  • Emotional distress. Compensates for the psychological impact of the abuse, such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD, which often requires professional counseling or therapy; 
  • Therapy costs. Specifically addresses the need for psychological counseling and therapy services to help the survivor recover from the trauma; and 
  • Pain and suffering. Recognizes the physical and emotional pain endured by the victim as a result of the abuse. 

Silva Injury Law is committed to maximizing compensation for victims to support their comprehensive healing journey. Our team understands the profound effects of sexual abuse and works tirelessly to ensure that our clients receive the resources they need for recovery.

Contact Silva Injury Law 

If your child has been impacted by sexual abuse in an after-school program, you deserve a legal team that will fight for your rights and support your family’s journey to healing. Contact Silva Injury Law today for a confidential consultation. Let us help you secure the justice and compensation your family needs to move forward.

Insights and Support

Learn More About Sexual Assault Civil Claims

Explore our articles for insights into legal aspects of sexual assault cases and supportive resources for survivors.

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