What help is there for child and adult victims of sexual abuse in Texas?

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Answered by: L. Todd Kelly

Located in Austin, TXThe Carlson Law Firm

Austin, TX
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If you or someone you love is a victim of sexual abuse, there are many national and local resources to help you. Even if you suspect sexual abuse but are not sure, or cannot prove it, do not hesitate to reach out for help. Call the police right away, especially if the situation is dangerous or life-threatening. They can quickly get you to a hospital and pull in staff trained specifically to help. You can also call the Texas Abuse Hotline 1-800-252-5400 for urgent investigations into the case. To speak to someone confidentially, the National Sexual Assault Hotline is always available at 1-800.656.HOPE. 

It is understandable if you did not call for help right away or your child did not tell you the circumstances immediately. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services website can help investigate the case at any time, as well as any suspicions you may have. After a sexual abuse case is established, there are also many long-term ways to seek help. The state offers free counseling, programs for children, psychiatrists, sexual assault services advocates, in-school help to assist with a child’s development, ongoing medical attention and much more. 

You can take the case to court 

Sexual abuse and exploitation can happen to anyone — from young children to teens, adults who are able-bodied or disabled, and vulnerable adults or seniors. Sadly, the treatment of sexual abuse victims is often unfair. These wounded and victimized people will never get the justice that our system promises to them unless we fight to hold people responsible for the damages they’ve caused. Even if the abuser is an influential person or poses threats, they can be challenged in court. 

You and your loved ones deserve fairness for this injustice. You deserve to be heard. Choosing to pursue a sexual abuse claim in civil court is a tough decision. The process can feel empowering because it provides a chance to confront your abuser, but it can also be frightening not to know the trial outcome or to speak in front of a judge and jury. 

Going to trial will allow the judge and jury to understand the abuse and the damages it has caused in your life. They will help determine the compensation you are owed for this injustice and suffering. Having other people and the abuser recognize the harm you had to endure can be a healing process for some. Bringing your abuser to justice can also help deter other abusers. 

Intangible damages in sexual abuse cases 

A court settlement will determine compensation for this injustice. However, there are many intangible elements to a sexual abuse or assault case that are hard to measure. You may be facing: 

  • Fear of people or being in public
  • Fear of being home or alone
  • Behavioral issues
  • Fear of victimization
  • Psychological pain and suffering
  • Short- or long-term medical care
  • Mental health services
  • Lost productivity and missed work
  • Lost quality of life 

No amount of compensation can heal your abuse. The courts will do their best to return you or your child’s life to how it was before the abuse. Payment will be sought for any medical attention, psychological treatment or services to help your future return to as normal as possible. 

A staunch defender of your rights is key to getting the justice and ease of mind you deserve after sexual abuse. Choosing to pursue your case in court is a decision only you can make — but an attorney can fight alongside you if you decide to seek justice. 

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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