Sexual abuse often involves an imbalance of power between the perpetrator and their victim. If an adult takes advantage of their position of dependence, authority, or trust in order to engage in non-consensual sexual activity with someone in their care, they have committed sexual abuse. Often, this means the victims of sexual abuse are children, or members of vulnerable populations, including disabled people, psychiatric patients, juvenile detention wards, and members of Indigenous communities.
The victims of sexual abuse often depend on their abuser in some way. Abusers may use their positions of authority or trust to coerce, manipulate, and threaten their victims in order to engage in sexual activity.
Adults who exploit their power and influence over a young person in order to engage in sexual activity with them have committed a form of sexual abuse referred to as sexual exploitation. Even if their victim has reached the age of consent, they are still unable to give informed consent for sexual activity to someone who holds a position of authority, trust, or dependence. Common examples of adults who may exploit the vulnerable people in their care include:
- Religious figures
- Sports coaches
- Camp counsellors
- Foster parents
- Juvenile detention centre guards
- Psychiatric hospital staff
- Extra-curricular programme staff
- And more
Sexual abuse often occurs within the framework of a larger organization, like a school, church, sports league, juvenile detention centre, or other institutions designed to care for young or vulnerable individuals. If the leadership of these organizations learn that one of its employees or volunteers has committed sexual abuse, they have a legal obligation to report the crime to the authorities and remove the abuser from their staff.
If an organization fails to take appropriate actions, they may, in fact, create an ideal environment for perpetrators to continue perpetuating the cycle of abuse free of consequences. Known as institutional sexual abuse, this systemic culture of abuse can exist within an organization for decades. By turning a blind eye to criminal behaviour, the leadership of these organizations may put more children and vulnerable individuals at risk of suffering lifelong trauma.
For those victims who were abused or exploited as children or teenagers, the effects of their trauma may take years and even decades to overcome. While struggling to grapple with their history of abuse, survivors often develop destructive coping mechanisms that could have far-reaching effects on their lives and their livelihoods.
Survivors of sexual abuse commonly experience severe mental health issues that are often debilitating in nature. As a result, sexual abuse survivors often incur substantial financial losses related to psychiatric treatment, psychological counselling, and other medical expenses. If the mental health issues acquired because of their abuse made it impossible for survivors to complete vocational training or pursue educational opportunities, they may also experience significantly reduced future earning capacities.
If you have been the victim of sexual exploitation or institutional sexual abuse, you may be able to recover financial compensation for the damages you incurred. By working with our compassionate sexual abuse lawyers serving Cape Breton, you may be able to pursue civil action against your abuser and, depending on the circumstances of your case, against the entity that employed them or introduced you to them, as well.
There is no statute of limitations on sexual abuse claims in Cape Breton. That means, regardless of how far in the past your abuse occurred, you have the right to pursue justice, accountability, and restitution. Our Cape Breton sexual abuse lawyers are passionate about helping survivors of sexual abuse bring their abusers to justice.
To learn how our sexual abuse lawyers serving Cape Breton may be able to provide you with assistance, call Preszler Injury Lawyers for a free initial consultation.
Free Consultation for Cape Breton Residents – We Don’t Get Paid Unless We Win
At Preszler Injury Lawyers, we appreciate that it takes a great deal of courage to discuss sexual abuse. Our compassionate sexual abuse lawyers serving Cape Breton are standing by to listen to your story and offer important legal advice.
To talk about your situation and learn about options that may be available to you, call our Cape Breton sexual abuse lawyers today. The initial consultation is cost-free and obligation-free. Call Preszler Injury Lawyers for your free first meeting with our sexual abuse lawyers serving Cape Breton, and find out how we may be able to help.