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How Can Sexual Abuse Survivors Receive Help In Washington DC?

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Sexual violence, which includes the abuse of children, takes a devastating toll on hundreds of thousands of vulnerable Americans each year. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) estimates that by the time they turn 18 years old, one out of four girls and one out of six boys will be sexually abused.

Survivors often suffer from a litany of long-term physical and emotional consequences, including fear, anxiety and PTSD. Treatments can be lengthy and costly, inflicting financial hardships on survivors, as some are unable to hold down a job as an adult. However, there are steps they can take to recover compensation here in the District of Columbia.

Alarming Statistics Highlight The Problem

Sexual abuse is any unwanted sexual activity, where abusers use force, make threats or take advantage of victims who are unable to give their consent. NSVRC statistics outline the horrendous impact:

  • 30% of women were sexually assaulted between the ages of 11 and 17
  • 3% of women and 27.8% of men were under 10 years old when they were first abused
  • More than one-third of all women reporting rape before age 18 also experienced rape as an adult
  • Males are responsible for 96% of all reported child sexual abuse charges, while 76.8% are adults
  • 34% of perpetrators are family members
  • Only 12% of child sexual abuse incidents are reported

State Laws Mandate Reporting Sexual Abuse

The District of Columbia’s Child and Family Services Agency considers certain professionals to be mandated reporters, who must inform authorities when abuse is suspected. Mandated reporters include individuals who regularly work with children, such as coaches, child care workers, doctors, teachers, counselors and a host of other professionals.

Statute Of Limitations For Filing Civil Lawsuits

In 2019, the District of Columbia passed legislation extending the Statute of Limitations for sexual abuse cases. Where the victim was less than 35 years of age when the abuse occurred, he or she may file a lawsuit until they reach the age of 40, or five years from the date when the victim knew, or should have known, of the abuse, whichever comes later. Where the abuse occurred when the victim was 35 or older, they have five years from the time when the abuse occurred or was discovered. The new legislation also opens a two-year window for bringing sexual abuse claims that would be time barred under the old law but would not be time barred under the new time limits.

Taking Action Against Abusers

Survivors, or their guardians, may be able to file lawsuits against perpetrators to seek compensation for the physical, emotional and financial effects they suffer. Choosing a lawyer who is experienced in sexual abuse cases is key to a favorable result. You should be able to identify the abuser, the place where the abuse happened and the approximate time it took place. In some cases, you can file a lawsuit against the perpetrator’s employer. For more specific questions regarding civil actions for sexual abuse, call (toll-free) 877-341-2595.

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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