Guelph Sexual Abuse Lawyer
Sexual abuse is among the most devastating traumas a person can withstand. Its adverse impacts can continue to affect an individual over the course of their lifetime. Survivors of sexual abuse may experience a range of mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic depression, anxiety, and more for years following the abuse itself.
If you are a survivor of sexual abuse, no matter how many years have passed since the abuse took place, you may be eligible for financial compensation for damages you have incurred as a result of your trauma. This may include the costs of medical bills, psychological treatment, lost income, and more.
You do not need to navigate a sexual abuse claim alone. Contact us today to schedule a free confidential consultation with our Guelph sexual abuse lawyers, and see how we may be able to help you.
Defining Sexual Abuse
When one party forces unwanted sexual activity on another in an ongoing pattern in the context of a relationship that rests on a power imbalance, they have committed sexual abuse. Unwanted sexual activity is any activity in which there is a person who does not expressly give informed consent. Sexual acts may include physical violence including sexual assault, and they may included non-physical behaviours such as voyeurism, stalking, verbal harrassment, or exposure.
A power imbalance is the cornerstone of sexual abuse. When one party has authority, control, or influence over another, they can take advantage of that power imbalance to manipulate, coerce, or threaten their victim into engaging in unwanted sexual activities. Examples of sexual abuse abound. Parents or other legal guardians can sexually abuse the children in their care; teachers can use their positions to abuse students; trusted members of the clergy can wield their influence to abuse vulnerable congregation members; and other adults in positions of authority can use their positions to exploit the children in their charge. In cases of sexual abuse within spousal relationships, abusers often wield financial or emotional control over their vulnerable partner.
A recent study revealed that 1 in 10 Canadians have been the targets of childhood sexual abuse. Despite this alarming statistic, only 7% of said cases were brought forward to police or child welfare services. A survivor’s traumas can be intertwined with feelings of shame, societally-imposed stigmas, as well as the complexity of the nuanced relationship they may have had with their abuser. At times, individuals do not even recognize for themselves that they have been abused until long after the fact.
It is precisely because of the complicated emotional and social nature of this crime that there is no statute of limitations on sexual abuse cases under Ontario law. This means that an individual may file a lawsuit against a perpetrator of sexual abuse even decades after the abuse took place.
Consequences of Sexual Abuse
No two cases are the same. Individual responses to trauma vary greatly between survivors of abuse. However, a number of alarming correlations have been observed between childhood sexual abuse and the likelihood of developing mental and physical illness. Survivors often develop symptoms including:
- Suicidal thoughts
- Substance abuse
- Panic attacks
- High blood pressure
- And more.
In order to alleviate symptoms and work through the trauma toward mental and physical health, survivors may turn to mental health professionals and medical doctors. However, the costs of this crucial care can be significant. Survivors might be eligible to pursue financial compensation for costs they have incurred as a result of their abuse by working with our sexual abuse lawyers serving Guelph.
Contact Our Guelph Sexual Abuse Lawyers Today
At Preszler Injury Lawyers, we understand and appreciate the courage it takes to come forward. We listen with compassion, and strive to help each client receive the compensation they deserve. To speak with our Guelph sexual abuse lawyers and see how we might be able to help you, call us at 1-800-JUSTICE or contact us through our online booking form for a free initial consultation.