It is never too late to come forward and report sexual abuse that you experienced as a child. Non-recent child abuse, also referred to as historical abuse, can still be reported to various authorities if the survivor is an adult. Reporting child sexual abuse can include notifying the police, contacting support organizations, and calling a child sexual abuse attorney.
Open Up to a Friend or Family Member
Start by telling someone you know and trust what happened. Opening up to friends or loved ones can help you get used to talking about the incident and provide a support system as you continue forward with your claim. Begin documenting your case by writing down a description of what happened in as much detail as you can remember. Include the names of the perpetrator and any witnesses, if possible.
Get the Support and Services That You Need
Next, get the support that you need during this difficult time. Revisiting traumatic memories of child sexual abuse can be mentally and emotionally taxing. Take care of yourself by seeking help and support services as necessary, such as the national sexual abuse hotline at (800) 656-4673. This service allows you to talk to a trained and experienced professional about what happened and learn what resources you might benefit from while keeping your identity anonymous. They are available to chat online or over the phone 24/7.
Find a Mental Health Counselor
Living through child sexual abuse and reliving the trauma as you share your experience with others is extremely difficult. Take care of yourself by seeking counseling from a mental health provider. Ask friends, family members or your general practitioner for a referral to a psychiatrist or therapist who specializes in child sexual abuse. There might be a survivors’ group that meets near you, as well, where you can meet and talk with people who went through similar experiences.
Go to the Police
You can still go to the police and report a non-recent crime. This could lead to criminal charges being brought against the perpetrator and justice for survivors after many years of suffering in silence. Call the non-emergency police number in the county where the crime took place or where the defendant lives to file a report.
Going to the police may lead to a jail or prison sentence for the perpetrator, as well as a lifelong entry on the Kansas Sex Offender Registry. In Kansas, criminal charges can be brought against an individual for child sex abuse at any time, no matter how many years have passed. It is especially important to go to the police if you believe the perpetrator could still be hurting other children.
Contact a Child Sexual Abuse Lawyer
Finally, contact a child sexual abuse lawyer to discuss the possibility of filing a personal injury lawsuit against an individual or entity. You may be able to hold the perpetrator as well as an institution responsible for failing to protect you from abuse. A successful civil lawsuit could result in payment for related losses, such as pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical bills. The statute of limitations on a civil child sexual abuse case is the victim’s 28th birthday, but this may be tolled to three years from the date of discovery, in some cases.
No one is forcing you to report sexual abuse that you experienced as a child. However, if you feel that coming forward, telling your story, and having your voice heard could provide some measure of justice and closure, take steps to report abuse. The attorneys at DRZ Law are here to support and guide you, no matter what your goals are for your case. Start by calling us at (913) 400-2033 to request a free and confidential child sexual abuse case review.