Sexual Abuse Lawyers in Palm Beach Gardens
Have you been a victim of sexual abuse? If so, you are not alone. Millions of children and adults across the U.S. have been victimized by a sexual predator. There are approximately 293,000 new cases of sexual abuse each year.
At Gordon & Partners, we are dedicated to holding perpetrators accountable for their egregious actions. We realize that it may be difficult to talk about what happened. Our Palm Beach Gardens sexual abuse lawyers are here to help. While compensation cannot erase the past, holding the at-fault parties financially responsible may help the healing process.
Our firm has obtained millions in compensation for injured victims throughout South Florida, and we are ready to fight hard to win financial justice for you. Robert Gordon, the firm’s founding partner, is a Florida Justice Association member and a past president of the Palm Beach County Justice Association.
Schedule your free and confidential consultation today.
We are here to help. Ph: 1 (855) 722-2552
Am I Eligible to File a Lawsuit?
Sexual abuse cases are very complex, and there are certain factors that may impact your eligibility to file a lawsuit. To help us help you, we need to first understand more about your situation. If we determine you may have a viable case, and you choose to pursue a legal claim, we are ready to help.
If you were a child when the abuse occurred, you may wonder whether it is too late for you to pursue a claim. While it may not be possible in every situation, new state laws are helping more victims to hold their abusers accountable, even years afterward.
We understand that victims may not feel safe discussing what happened to them. However, when you hire our firm, anything you share is protected by attorney-client privilege and therefore, completely confidential.
It is worth mentioning that there is also no financial risk to you. The initial consultation is free and carries no obligation to pursue a claim. If we take your case, you pay us nothing either up front or throughout the legal process. Our fees are only paid when your case concludes – but only if we recover compensation for you.
Find out if you have a case. Call: 1 (855) 722-2552
Understanding Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse occurs anytime one or more persons force another child, teen or adult to engage in sexual behavior that is non-consensual. Under Florida statute 794.011, this activity is legally considered sexual battery. When the activity involves a child, it is illegal even if there was no actual physical contact.
Sexual abuse exists in any form of unwanted sexual behavior, such as:
- Fondling or kissing
- Rough or violent sexual activity
- Physically forcing or verbally threatening someone to engage in unwanted sexual activity
- Touching a victim sexually over his or her clothes
- Penetration – rape or attempted rape
- Forced oral sex
When the victim is a minor child, additional abuse may include the above acts, as well as:
- Sending explicit emails or text messages – with or without images
- Purposely exposing genitals in a provocative manner in front of a child
- Forcing a child to watch pornography
- Forcing a child to commit sexual acts
- Abducting a child and forcing them into sex trafficking
Are There Deadlines for Filing a Lawsuit?
While Florida does have specific deadlines for pursuing a civil lawsuit, the law is a little different in cases involving sexual abuse. The deadline for a sexual abuse case depends on both the age of the victim and when the alleged abuse occurred.
Many states are pushing to do away with statutes of limitations altogether in cases involving sexual abuse or assault. In Florida, the most recent success in this direction is Donna’s Law, a new statute implemented in June 2020.
Under this recent law, there is no statute of limitations if the following applies:
- The alleged abuse occurred prior to July 1, 2020, and the victim was under 16 years
- The abuse occurred on or after July 1, 2020 and before the victim’s 16th birthday
However, if the abuse happened prior to July 1, 2020 and the victim was between the ages of 16 and 18 years, these limitations still exist:
- The alleged abuse or assault must have been reported to the police within 72 hours
- A claim must be filed within three years of the incident
Unfortunately, if the sexual abuse was not reported to law enforcement, the victim may be unable to pursue a claim.
Free Case Review. 1 (855) 722-2552
Liability for Sexual Abuse Cases
Identifying and holding sexual abusers accountable for their actions helps to obtain justice for past victims. However, it also helps to prevent that perpetrator from continuing his or her pattern of sexual abuse, while protecting others from becoming a victim as well.
In addition to the perpetrator, there are others who may share liability. Schools and other organizations are responsible for taking reasonable steps to keep minors in their care safe from sexual abuse and other types of harm by:
- Conducting thorough background checks on potential employees
- Overseeing staff members who have one-on-one contact with children or teens
- Reporting suspicious behavior – in Florida, everyone is considered a mandated reporter
- Immediately removing a potential abuser from any position that involves contact with a minor child or teen
Organizations that may be liable include:
- Daycare centers
- Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts
- School systems
- Churches – or any religious institution
- Gymnastics teams
- Summer camps
- Sports teams
- Dance clubs
What Are the Lasting Effects of Sexual Abuse?
Sexual abuse can leave long-term effects on a victim, whether it “only happened once” or multiple times. Depending on the age of the victim and other factors, these effects may present differently. It is important to help victims get the support and help they need as soon as the abuse is discovered.
The onset of psychological symptoms is often sudden and out-of-character for the victim, such as:
- Having low self-esteem
- Engaging in self-harming behavior, such as cutting, drugs, destructive eating habits or suicidal thoughts
- Suffering from emotional damages, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Difficulties developing a healthy sexual relationship as an adult
- Sleep disorders
- Permanent gastrointestinal or reproductive damage
Signs and Symptoms of Sexual Abuse
Victims may internalize much of the trauma, but, in addition to the psychological symptoms, there are also many physical signs that may mean someone has been sexually abused. Depending on the age of the victim, these symptoms may present differently, but could include:
- Anger or other forms of aggressive behavior
- Complaints of chronic tummy aches or other pain with no obvious reason
- Disassociating from friends, family, becoming distant
- If young, there may be constant crying, bedwetting or soiling
- Unwanted pregnancy
- Swelling, irritation and redness in the genital area
- Bruising around the buttocks or thighs
- Black, tarry stool (indicates presence of blood)
- Painful urination or frequent urinary tract infections
- Experiencing unexplained discomfort when walking or sitting
- Symptoms associated with a sexually transmitted infection (STI)
Support for Florida Sexual Abuse Victims
Victims of sexual abuse may feel humiliated, degraded, angry – even guilty. Although these victims are in no way to blame, they may continue to suffer in silence – sometimes for years – not knowing what to do or who to trust after the abuse.
In Florida and nationally, there are many emergency services and ongoing resources for victims of sexual abuse or assault, including:
- RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) – A national anti-sexual violence organization with resources to help victims of many types of sexual violence, including sexual abuse.
- Florida Council Against Sexual Violence (FCASV) – Provides support and services for abuse victims. Crisis counselors are 24/7 and will help put victims in contact with local certified help.
Locally, Palm Beach County also has resources, including the Palm Beach County Victim Services & Certified Rape Crisis Center. This crisis center has multiple locations throughout Palm Beach County.
The Palm Beach Garden’s office is located at 3188 PGA Blvd., #214-I. Victims can call the crisis hotline 24/7 at 561-355-2418, select option 3. Services include:
- Medical forensic evidence collection without having to go to the hospital
- Assistance obtaining emergency restraining orders
- Referrals for additional medical care, therapy and other social services
- Connecting adult sexual abuse survivors with supportive therapy groups
Call Our Palm Beach Gardens Sexual Abuse Lawyers
Having a trusted attorney on your side, fighting to protect your legal interests, can be empowering and healing to victims of abuse.
At Gordon & Partners, we have a long and proven track record advocating for injured victims throughout South Florida, recovering millions on behalf of our clients. We encourage you to read about some of our client’s experiences with our firm.
Our attorneys have decades of experience and provide a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss how we may be able to help. Get answers to your legal questions and learn more about how these types of cases are handled.
We are located on 4114 Northlake Blvd, less than five miles from the North County Courthouse.
We are ready to fight for you. 1 (855) 722-2552
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