Personal Injury Blog

What to do if You or Someone You Know Has Been Sexually Abused By a Member of The Church

What to do if You or Someone You Know Has Been Sexually Abused By a Member of The Church

If you or someone you know has been sexually abused by a member of the church in New Jersey, there are steps you are encouraged to take to bring the abusers to justice. The civil litigation attorneys at the Leonard Legal Group are experienced in handling cases of clergy sexual abuse in New Jersey, advocating on behalf of sexual abuse victims and protecting their rights under the law.

Report the suspected abuse

If you suspect child sexual abuse, under New Jersey’s mandatory reporting laws, you are required to report it. New Jersey has created toll-free hotlines for reporting suspected abuse, which aim to encourage early intervention to protect the child and allow for anonymous reporting. Anyone reporting suspected child abuse in good faith is immune from any criminal or civil liability that is the result of this action.

In addition, the New Jersey Attorney General’s office has established a dedicated telephone hotline for individuals to report cases of sexual abuse by clergy members. The hotline, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is staffed by trained professionals. The toll-free hotline number is (855) 363-6548. Individuals who report clergy sexual abuse may remain anonymous if they choose. Individuals may call on behalf of a sexual abuse victim and may also report suspected abuse.

Consider filing a civil sexual abuse claim

If you or someone you know was a victim of clergy sexual abuse, you may seek justice against your abuser by filing a sexual abuse claim. New Jersey has a statute of limitations – the legal time frame for filing a lawsuit – that limits the time you have to proceed with your claim. The New Jersey Senate and General Assembly recently passed legislation that would expand the statute of limitations for sexual assault victims for civil cases. The legislation was signed into law by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, and provides that victims of sexual abuse have seven years from the time of the abuse – or from the time they discovered the abuse – to file a claim. It also provides a two year window for older victims of sexual abuse to file a claim, until November 30, 2021. Under this legislation, child sexual abuse victims will have until the age of 55 – or seven years from when they discovered their abuse – to file a civil sexual abuse claim.

Compassionate, experienced counsel for New Jersey clergy sexual abuse victims

When you or a loved one has experienced clergy sexual abuse, we understand how difficult, painful, and challenging it can be when considering taking any action against the abuser. At the Leonard Legal Group, our compassionate, experienced civil litigators are with you every step of the way. We begin by discussing your situation, explaining the legal options, and walking you through the entire process in pursuit of justice against your abuser. Let us help. Arrange a free confidential consultation with a member of our team by contacting our office at 973-984-1414 or contact us online.