Survivors of sexual abuse deserve justice for the crimes committed against them. In many cases, justice begins with reporting the abuse to the local police. This can be difficult, as survivors may have delayed recollections or sustained trauma from the abuse. Becoming familiar with the process of police reporting can help survivors overcome these challenges and take this important step.
Sexual abuse survivors can contact the police in person or by phone to report the abuse. Most police have “special victims” units equipped to handle these types of matters. Many police departments will arrange to have a sexual assault victim advocate present to help survivors during this difficult time. The National Sexual Assault Hotline is available online and at 800-656-HOPE (4673). They can help survivors identify all the resources available to them.
The police will conduct an interview with the survivor to obtain the basic facts and determine if there is an immediate threat to the safety of the victim or others. If the person reporting the abuse remains in danger, the police will take appropriate actions to ensure their safety. Detectives will be assigned to continue the investigation including gathering background information, collecting available evidence, and locating witnesses. At times the police may request the victim undergo a medical or psychological examination.
Information related to the assault itself, the relationship between the victim and perpetrator, and the resulting trauma is important to prepare a case against the abuser. Since consent is a common defense to sexual abuse, the detective often will look for signs of fear and the presence of threats, coercion or an inability to consent.
Many abuse survivors find it difficult to report their abusers to the police. Feelings of guilt, shame, and fear are especially common and can be barriers to reporting. This can be especially true in the case of clergy abuse where a culture of silence has made it impossible for many survivors to report sexual misconduct of priests. For other individuals, it can take years after the abuse occurred before they can remember and report it to the police.
Dealing with the Effects of Clergy Abuse
Clergy abuse survivors can suffer medical and psychological injuries as they recover from their trauma. Medical costs, therapy fees, and lost wages can place significant financial burdens on families coping with the aftermath of abuse. Clergy abuse survivors can hold the perpetuators of these crimes, including the abusive priests and their superiors who covered up the crimes, responsible for their actions by filing a civil lawsuit seeking compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional distress damages.
If you or a loved one has suffered clergy abuse, the compassionate Trenton clergy abuse lawyers at Williams Cedar are here to help. Our experienced clergy abuse lawyers have helped families throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey obtain justice for this abuse. Our offices are conveniently located in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey, to proudly serve clergy abuse survivors throughout Pennsylvania, including Allentown, Scranton, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Greensburg, Johnstown, Eerie, and Wilkes-Barre, as well as those in Camden, Metuchen, and Trenton, New Jersey. To schedule a free confidential consultation with a Trenton clergy abuse lawyer today, call us at 215-557-0099 or 856-470-9777 or contact us online.