Central Coast Child Abuse Attorney Serving San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Monterey
There is little in this world that offends the sensibilities of most people more than the sexual molestation of a child. Exploiting the innocence of a vulnerable minor is a heinous crime, and as such should be punished with as much time in prison as the law allows. But what about the victim? Prison time may prevent the sexual offender from violating more children, but it does little to help the innocent victim. Childhood sexual abuse often has a profound deleterious effect on a victim’s ability to function as an adult, especially in regard to sexual relationships, but also in a more general way because of anxiety, depression, and the inability to trust others. Call an experienced San Luis Obispo child abuse attorney immediately if you know a victim.
CRIMINAL VS. CIVIL
Unfortunately, these cases are hard to prove in the criminal justice system. In many cases the child victim is intimidated into remaining silent, and as time passes, evidence disappears. Or it may be a matter of one child’s word against the word of a seemingly credible adult abuser. Those who victimize children are often respected members of the community who work with children as a means of gaining access to them. They are often personable, even charming, and may appear to genuinely care for children. That’s how they entice their victims.
And many victims repress the painful memory of the abuse, only to recall it much later when psychological or sexual problems begin to surface in adulthood.
A criminal conviction requires “proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” a high standard that may be especially difficult to meet for a crime that occurred behind closed doors.
There is a possibility for a victim to recover financial compensation in the civil court system that will allow him or her to afford the therapeutic services needed to live a full life after a childhood of sexual abuse. This can add a more meaningful form of justice for the victim whose molester is in prison, or it can give recourse to a victim who can’t meet the difficult standard of proof for a criminal conviction, but who has enough evidence to meet the civil standard,” a preponderance of the evidence.”