It's every parent's worst nightmare. You drop your child off at school, and they come home telling you that their teacher has been sexually abusing them. Unfortunately, this type of abuse is more common than you might think. In fact, a recent study found that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 13 boys have experienced sexual abuse from a teacher or other adult working at their school. That's why it's so important to be proactive in protecting your child from sexual abuse.
Child sexual abuse (CSA) refers to the sexual behavior of any person involving a minor and may or may not involve force.
CSA is defined as: "Sexual abuse is any forced, coerced, unwanted sexual act including fondling and intercourse perpetrated against a child by an adult or older youth." (Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention, 2018). In addition, the person could be an adult or older youth who is over 18, in his 20s or 30s. Sexual abuse may involve incest (sexual contact between family members) and statutory rape (unlawful sexual acts with a minor).
Sexual Predators At School
Most sexual predators are someone the child knows and trusts. This could be a teacher, coach, or other adult working at the school.
Many times, sexual abuse from teachers occurs when there is a power imbalance between the teacher and student. The teacher may take advantage of the fact that they are in a position of authority to exploit the child. Additionally, predators often target children who are vulnerable or have low self-esteem. They may try to gain the child's trust by being overly friendly or giving them special attention. For example, a piano teacher may take music lessons one-on-one.
Over time, the predator may try to isolate or "groom" their victim by drawing them into a closer relationship via social media or one-on-one contact, away from others. Eventually, the predator may begin to threaten or intimidate the child into keeping them silent.
How To Protect Your Child From Sexual Predators At School
It's important for parents to be aware of any red flags that may indicate that their child is sexually abused by a teacher or other school employee. Some of the warning signs include:
- Being withdrawn from normal activities such as going to school, playing with friends, and participating in extracurricular activities.
- Having unexplained injuries such as bruises or torn clothing that the child won't explain.
- Refusing to participate in normal activities or participating excessively
- Having lots of internet activity, particularly with strangers
- Sudden mood changes such as becoming angry or hostile
- Choosing to spend time alone with the teacher or other school employee
- Having unexplained financial problems. I.e., giving their allowance to the abuser
If you suspect your child is being sexually abused by a teacher talk to the child and seek legal help immediately. There are many steps California sexual abuse attorneys can take to get justice for your child.
Lawsuits against teachers or principals who sexually abuse a student are generally based on a teacher or principal's negligent hiring and supervision that allowed a perpetrator to become sexually involved with the student. A school could be negligent if it fired an employee for sexual misconduct with a minor, even if that employee transferred to another school.
Contact Our Sexual Assault Attorneys Today
The Law Offices Case Bernett can help you file your child's sexual abuse claim so you can get compensation for your child's pain and suffering. We also handle cases involving childhood sexual abuse in preschools, daycare centers, and schools. Our experienced lawyers are dedicated to helping victims of child sexual abuse recover the damages they deserve so they can start on their road to recovery. Contact our firm by filling out a form here or by calling 949-409-0055 today.