When we think of private schools, we picture distinguished educational institutions that provide secure and safe havens for students to learn and grow. We often think about well-rounded teachers and educators who are knowledgeable in not only engaging their students, but also in being able to identify crises, to aid both students and colleagues in need. When we send our children to school, we want to believe that they are safe, and will be protected by the institution from sexual abuse. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. There are countless stories across the country of private school sex abuse victims who were abused while working at or attending private schools.
Private School Sexual Abuse Lawyer in Philadelphia
As parents, we always hope that our children will be able to come and talk to us if they are facing abuse at school. However, the majority of private school sex abuse cases in go unreported because students are worried that they will face severe consequences if they ask for help. One of the best things we can do for children is to always remind them that they can always come to their parents for help. At the same time however, parents can help their children by being on the lookout for certain changes in their children’s behavior, which might indicate they are experiencing something sinister at school. Some of the most common signs that a child is experiencing sexual abuse at their school include:
Increased Signs Of Depression, Anxiety, Or Fear
Expressing A Reluctance To Go To School Or Go To A Specific Class
Increased Disciplinary Issues
Decline In Grades Or Interest In Coursework
Increase In Sexual Commentary Or Curiosity In Sexual Activities
Changes In Diet
Self-Destructive Behavior Or Drug Use
Do Survivors of Private School Sex Abuse Have Legal Rights?
Survivors of private school sex abuse absolutely have legal rights. Instances of sexual abuse often violate a state’s criminal law code. Consequently, victims of private school sex abuse have a right to seek assistance from law enforcement, and if the evidence is sufficient enough, have the right to press charges against the perpetrator of the abuse.
Beyond rights for survivors that are available through the criminal justice system, many survivors also have legal rights to pursue justice in the civil realm. Under Title IX of the Education Amendments Act, discrimination based on gender is prohibited at any educational institution that receive any federal funding, including private schools. Nearly every state across the country has a similar statute that prohibits sexual abuse or sexual harassment in school, and grant individuals various rights to seek justice.
Title IX and other similar statutes require schools to adequately respond to reports or allegations of sexual abuse or harassment. This typically requires that the school investigate allegations and take immediate steps to stop any abuse that is discovered during the course of the investigation. Additionally, you have the right to raise these allegations without having to notify the abuser or inform them that you intend on filing a Title IX complaint. Furthermore, schools are prohibited from trying to encourage victims to drop the case, ignore the allegations, retaliate against you for raising the claims, or fail to conduct a timely investigation. If this happens, the victim may have a case against the school itself for failing to act in accordance with the law.
In all, the rights granted by these statutes are designed to empower survivors of sexual abuse and to create a safe place for survivors to seek help and escape ongoing abuse. A private school sexual abuse lawyer can always help you further understand your rights in a sexual abuse case and ensure that you are getting access to the resources you need to get adequate assistance.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Private School Sex Abuse in PA?
For civil lawsuits, a childhood sexual abuse survivor can typically file a civil suit any time before they turn 30. For adults, the statute of limitations in two years from the state of injury. It is important to note that laws are always changing, and you should consult a sexual abuse lawyer to ensure you have the most up to date information about the statute of limitations.