What can I do if a coach sexually abused my child?
Extracurricular sports through a school, church, youth group, or civic organization are safely enjoyed by many children around the nation, but these programs can sometimes leave them vulnerable to coach sexual abuse in these institutions.
This can happen at any organized sporting team or group, such as a league or team for:
- Figure skating
- Judo, karate, or other martial arts
- Swim teams
The abuser is may be an authority figure, such as a coach or staff member; or a volunteer, parent, or another adult involved in the organization. Sexual abuse may also happen between players in a locker room or other environment, or while on a trip if the team travels for practice, league play, or other competitive events.
Signs a Child Might Be Sexually Abused
A child may admit to what happened or has been happening, but this isn’t always the case. Even if your child doesn’t or can’t directly say what’s been happening out of fear, shame, or coercion, there are certain red flags that indicate that someone may be engaging in sexual abuse including, but not limited to:
- Sudden lack of enjoyment and desire to quit the team
- Not wanting to attend functions where the abuser is
- Avoiding practice or games, particularly with a certain person
- Showing fear of or no longer wanting to be around a particular person
- Anxiety, depression, trouble sleeping, or nightmares
- Loss of focus or an inability to concentrate
- Sudden mood swings with no other explanations
- Complaints of pain while going to the bathroom
- Signs of a sexually-transmitted disease
No single one of the above signs is a definitive indicator of a problem but you should begin taking steps to respond. However, if you believe your child is the victim of coach sexual abuse or is being abused by someone while at after-school sports programs, you should contact the police, as well as reach out to an attorney who handles after-school child abuse cases. An attorney can help you make sure the legal rights of your child and your family are fully protected while you pursue possible legal options against the person who or organization that you entrusted with the care of your child.
Civil Lawsuits for After-School Abuse
Regardless of whether a criminal conviction is secured through a police investigation, victims and their families have the right to file civil lawsuits against the responsible party or parties, which can include the abuser, the school, as well as the team, league, or sporting organization. A lawsuit can help survivors receive financial compensation to pay for medical bills, psychological treatment, and other expenses related to the abuse. It’s typically the only way families will receive any sort of financial recovery for what happened.
If you have questions or need legal support, DRZ Law is available for your family right now. Reach out by phone today, or use the brief contact form on this page to schedule a free consultation with an experienced legal professional. We’re available for residents of Kansas, Missouri, or anywhere our services are needed across the nation.