Sexual abuse in camps is prevalent in California and the rest of the country. Unfortunately, children are the most affected. Camping is quite exciting, and many youngsters and adults turn up in great numbers, especially in summer. Sexual predators are all over, taking advantage of the vulnerability of children and adults in camps. If you or your child has been affected, you can find legal help to pursue the compensation you deserve. At Sex Crime Attorney, we have the skills and experience to help you fight for compensation against the responsible party in Los Angeles, CA. We are also available to answer any questions regarding your eligibility for compensation.
Sexual Abuse Cases in Camps
Everyone in America looks forward to summer. It is a time to relax and breathe, mostly away from home. Millions of Americans in all states pack their belongings to go camping. Some attend day camps and others week-long camps. It is a beautiful period to take a break from work and everyday life, learn a new skill, explore other interests and even build self-esteem. People come back home to share their beautiful experiences with others. Others enjoy the fact that they made new friends. Sadly, some bring home only sad memories that will impact the rest of their lives.
Sexual abuse in camps is not a new issue. It has been there for years. Adults and children alike are affected when a child or adult is sexually abused while camping, and their joy and hope for a bright future are lost.
Children in camps are usually under the care of staff members. Parents send their children to camps hoping that they will bring only good memories and positive achievements. But sexual abuse can steal all that from your child and more. It helps to know what to do when your child is abused in a camp. A competent sexual abuse attorney can help you determine liability and the right course of action to seek compensation for the damages experienced.
As previously mentioned, sexual abuse in camps is not uncommon. Every year, so many reports of camp sexual abuse are made throughout the country. The numbers tend to increase every year. Legal experts say that the number of unreported cases could even be higher. What is more shocking is that the people who should protect minors while in these camps are sometimes the same ones who take advantage of the minors.
California law is clear on its stand against sexual abuse, particularly against minors. Other than criminal penalties, those responsible could face severe civil lawsuits to be ordered to compensate their victims handsomely. It helps to know that you can find legal help from criminal and civil courts in seeking justice for yourself or a loved one after sexual abuse in a camp.
Perpetrators of Camp Sexual Abuse
Abuse is not always evident. Victims of abuse find it difficult to share their experiences with others for fear of facing blame or judgment. Sexual abuse leaves the victims completely traumatized. It becomes difficult for a sexually-abused person to share the ordeal with others. That is why most perpetrators escape punishment because the victims are usually too traumatized to tell on them.
But, it is essential to encourage your loved one to report what happened to them and the responsible party. If you are the victim, it helps to know that reporting the matter is one step closer to stopping sexual abuse in camps. Everyone has a role to play in preventing abuse in our communities and reporting cases of abuse as soon as they happen.
Several people could be held responsible when a child or adult is sexually abused in a camp. The actual responsible party will be held accountable for the resulting damages. Staff members, including camp counselors, perpetrate most camp sexual abuse cases against minors. Sometimes the camp could be held responsible for the consequential damages, depending on the details of the case.
A victim of camp sexual abuse can report the matter and seek justice against the perpetrator in a criminal court. When that happens, the perpetrator will face criminal charges for sexual assault. If sentenced, they will face the total penalties provided under the law for that crime.
The next option for a victim of camp sexual abuse would be to file a lawsuit against the perpetrator in a civil court. When the perpetrator or the camp itself faces a legal suit, they will be ordered to compensate the victim of the past, present, and future damages emanating from the abuse.
A Civil Suit Against a Camp Employee
Camp employees are given various responsibilities to assist campers throughout their stay in the camp. Children who go camping are usually unaccompanied by their parents. Therefore, they depend on the direction and assistance of these employees to make proper decisions and achieve their goals. Sadly, some employees abuse young campers. When that happens, the responsible employee can be held criminally accountable for sexual abuse. The employee could also face civil liability for all the damages incurred by the victim after abuse.
A Civil Suit Against the Camp
When a minor is sexually abused in a camp, the party to blame at that instance should be the camp itself. Camp owners are legally required to have measures in place for the safety of all campers within their facilities. Cases of several minors facing abuse in the same camp over the same period are rising.
It shows how negligent some camp owners are in hiring workers who commit heinous acts within their establishments. Camp workers require close supervision while on duty, especially with the rising cases of camp abuse. Employees with a previous record of abuse should not be allowed to work in these establishments.
When a victim brings a legal suit against a camp, its owners will be held responsible for the resulting damages. Employers are sometimes held accountable for the wrongful acts of their workers. If an employee commits a sexual offense while working in a camp, the camp itself will be partially or fully to blame for the employee’s wrongful acts.
Legal Guardians of Minor Sexual Offenders
The campers themselves perpetrate some cases of camp sexual abuse in California. It could be an adult camper against another or a minor against another minor. In a case where a minor sexually abuses another, the victim’s parents or legal guardian can follow it up with the legal guardian of the minor offender. When filing a legal suit against the offender in court, the parents or legal guardian of the minor offender will be held responsible for the wrongful acts of their kin. If the suit is successful, the offender’s family will be ordered to pay compensation for all the victim’s damages after the abuse.
Third Parties in the Camps
Camps usually have other people around, not just the employees and campers. Some camps have sponsors like church officials, while others have sports organizations. These, too, could be responsible for camp sexual abuse.
When a sexual abuse case is reported, lawyers hire experts to investigate the matter. Their findings make it possible for everyone to know the actual perpetrator(s). Some abuse cases by third parties in camps are usually unknown to camp employees and parents. Therefore, the responsible party or organization will be held accountable for the resulting damages.
Note: Any adult who learns about sexual abuse against a minor and does not report it is also held accountable for the resulting damages. Therefore, if one or more employees are involved in camp sexual abuse, and other employees know about it, all employees in that camp will be held accountable for the resulting damages. California law has a mandatory reporter law that requires everyone working directly or indirectly with children to report any suspected cases of abuse directly to the police or child protection services. Failing to do so is a criminal offense, punishable by a maximum of six months in jail and a fine of $1,000.
Preventing Sexual Abuse in Camps
As previously noted, cases of sexual abuse in camps are rising every year. There is a need to stop them and save the families and potential victims the agony of going through a difficult life after abuse. Everyone can play a part in preventing sexual abuse in camps, including camp owners, parents, employees, operators, and campers. Each party can take a few steps to prevent abuse in the coming years.
Precautions for Parents
When parents send their children to camps during summer, they hope that their children will have a wonderful experience, make friends, and learn something new by the time they come back home. But if a child is abused, their parents do not enjoy all that. What follows are endless hospital visits and legal meetings as the parents seek medical care, justice, and compensation for their child. Here are some precautions you can take as a parent to help prevent camp sexual abuse against your minor:
Teach your child about all their body parts from when they are young. Let them know their private body parts by name. Let your child understand the body parts that no one should talk about or touch. If something happens to them at home, in school, or even in summer camps, the child will tell you exactly what happened and the exact part that was touched or harmed.
Parents can teach their children the dangers of being alone in secluded spaces, especially in camps. Being in the company of other campers minimizes a person’s risk of target abuse.
Additionally, build confidence in your children so that they can boldly say no to any solicitation to participate in sexual acts. Sex predators mainly target minors with low self-esteem. It is easier for them to manipulate a child like that. A confident child will fight back, scream for help or report the abuse immediately it occurs.
They, too, have a role to play in preventing sexual abuse within their premises.
As employers, they must adequately screen prospective workers before hiring them. Those with a criminal record, especially for sex-related offenses, must not work directly with minors and vulnerable groups.
Employers must conduct a background check on prospective employees before hiring them. That tells you the kind of person the potential worker is. Employers can also conduct refresh checks on their workers from time to time.
Detailed in-person interviews are also helpful in understanding a person’s personality and some of their hidden traits.
After hiring workers, camp owners must ensure that their employees are adequately trained for the job. Part of the training should revolve around sexual abuse and other forms of abuse. Let your employees know how to conduct themselves to avoid facing legal suits and criminal charges.
If any misconduct is reported against a particular employee, camp owners must quickly take action against the employee. That will serve as a warning to other employees against wrongful acts.
Supervision is paramount in summer camps, especially when working directly with campers. Supervised employees will be careful how they relate with campers for fear of losing their jobs. Supervision also minimizes cases of employee misconduct and promotes customer satisfaction.
Lastly, camps must have a clear reporting channel through which any form of abuse or misconduct by workers or other campers must be reported and acted upon. If a camper reports a sexual abuse incident, camp managers or owners should quickly involve law enforcement officers and not resolve the matter internally. Some vices like these thrive when perpetrators are not adequately held responsible or punished for their offense.
The Kind of Help Available for Camp Sexual Abuse Victims
Sexual abuse is a horrible experience, especially for minors. It leaves the child with an intense fear that could last for the rest of their life. Parents, guardians, and other caregivers must take the necessary steps to ensure that the victim receives adequate help and support in dealing with the trauma.
If your child reports a possible sexual abuse incident while away camping or you suspect that your child was abused, it is advisable to seek legal help immediately. A sex crime attorney will listen to your case and advise you on the right course of action to take. Your attorney will also help gather quality evidence that he/she can use to support your claims in court. Then, the attorney can help you file a lawsuit against the responsible party in a civil court.
But if you suspect that your child is in danger while camping or you or someone you know has been abused in a camp, it helps to call the police immediately. Police officers will investigate the matter and arrest anyone suspected of wrongful acts against campers. If found guilty, the perpetrator(s) will face severe penalties according to California sexual abuse laws. After that, you can file a claim for compensation in a civil court against the responsible party.
Other than legal help, victims of sexual abuse can undergo counseling to help them deal with the trauma that comes with the abuse. That will help them enjoy a quality life after that.
Victims also require support from their close family members and friends. If your child was sexually abused in a camp, support them as much as possible. Validate their claims by showing understanding and listening to them. Offer emotional support, and reassure them of your love and support, regardless of what they must be feeling. Let your child know that what the abuser did was wrong and that sooner or later, they will face penalties for the offense.
It is essential to determine from the victims what they want or need. Sometimes parents want to control everything, which makes the minor (victim) feel segregated in decision making. Seeking their opinion gives them a sense of control, contrary to what the abuser did. It makes them trust you even more.
Avoid becoming upset after your child or anyone else tells you about their sexual abuse experience in a camp. The victim is already feeling anxious, confused, and angry. You should try to model a calm attitude. Also, do not try to attack the abuser. Let the law take its course. Confronting the abuser could put you and your child in danger of counterattacks. It helps to let legal expertise handle the matter.
Do not pressure the victim to speak. Allow them to tell the story at their pace. You could also bring in a trained professional to talk to the child, to obtain information from them.
Damages to Claim After Camp Sexual Abuse
Victims of camp sexual abuse can hire a sex crime attorney to help them file a winning lawsuit against their abusers in a civil court. The attorney will start by understanding the details of the case, gathering evidence, preparing the case, and filing it in a civil court. With proper proof, the judge can award the plaintiffs all their damages, including punitive damages, to help them deal with the effects of the abuse and the injuries they sustained. It is essential to understand what you can include in your claim to avoid missing the compensation you truly deserve.
Damages in civil cases like these fall under two main categories: compensatory damages and punitive damages.
These include all losses, economic and non-economic, that a victim of camp sexual abuse has incurred after the abuse. Your sex crime attorney will help you list all your losses and the estimated amount for every damage incurred.
Monetary damages include all financial costs the victim and their family have incurred after the abuse. The damages must be related to the abuse the victim suffered. They could include:
Medical Treatment Costs
These damages will include medical costs incurred after the abuse, ongoing treatment, and those expected in the future. Some sexual abuse victims require long-term medical care to recover from their injuries fully. All these costs must be in the compensation claim.
Medical treatment costs will include hospital and doctor visits, hospital stays, pain medication, surgery, and clinical or lab tests. Transportation to and from the hospital must also be included here, together with out-of-pocket medical-related costs you incurred during the treatment period.
The victim and his/her family need counseling to overcome their fear and anxiety. Any costs they have incurred and those they will likely incur in the future must be in the claim. Sexual abuse causes trauma, which could take time to overcome, especially for the victim.
Sexual abuse victims must undergo therapy to recover from trauma entirely. Therapy for the victims can be extensive and long-term.
Non-monetary damages are also significant and must also be in a plaintiff’s claim. They will consist of the victim’s losses difficult to assign a dollar figure to. Some of the non-monetary damages you could include in your claim are:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Anxiety and depression
Civil court judges also award punitive damages to victims of sexual abuse to punish the perpetrator and warn others of similar conduct. Punitive damages will increase compensation for the victim to help them deal with any issues that will arise in the future due to the abuse.
Adequate compensation will help you handle your loved one’s long and complex journey to recovery. However, no amount of money is enough to compensate for the devastating acts of sexual abusers.
Find a Competent Sex Crime Attorney Near Me
Camp sexual abuse is a common issue in California. It leaves the victims and families counting significant losses due to financial and emotional distress after the abuse. If you or your loved one was sexually abused in a camp, you could find legal help in Los Angeles to help you piece together a winning lawsuit against the perpetrator for compensation. At Sex Crime Attorney, we will professionally handle your matter and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve for your damages. Call us at 424-835-9799, and let us study the details of your case for the best legal advice and support.