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Questions about Sexual Abuse Law

Sexual abuse is a serious crime – whether it is the sexual abuse of a child or of women. Many times, these crimes go unpunished — either because the signs of sexual abuse go undetected or because people are unaware of the laws on sexual abuse. Below are five sexual abuse questions that are answered frequently by the lawyers on JustAnswer.

How does a hospital check for signs of sexual abuse on a child?

Many hospitals have physicians that specialize in child abuse and can perform a number of tests to see if a child has been sexually abused. If they suspect sexual abuse of a child, they often take photos and conduct a physical examination. This can help determine whether the child has been sexually abused, and it also acts as documentary evidence. Usually, cultures are taken to test for sexually transmitted diseases, and a pelvic examination is done to check for manipulation or penetration. Social workers and psychologists can also be brought in for a mental examination. The age of the child is always taken into consideration when determining the types of tests to be performed.

Can a school be sued if they do not call authorities when a teacher is suspected of sexual abuse?

Whenever sexual abuse of a child is detected by the state or a government official, the law requires them to contact the authorities. If a school is aware of the abuse and does not take action to remove the child from an unsafe situation, it could be sufficient grounds for a lawsuit. Depending on the situation, the school could also be committing an offense and may be liable for the harm caused. These types of cases would typically require legal counsel to prove that the school was negligent and failed to follow proper procedures. If you suspect that a child has been physically or sexually abused, or have questions about your suspicions, you could ask a Family Lawyer on JustAnswer for expert insights on sexual abuse laws.

If a sexual abuse case has been dismissed against an ex-spouse, can the parent with legal custody leave the state?

If the court order does not prohibit the child from leaving the state, then the parent may not be in jeopardy or contempt of court by just taking the child out of the state. When a child custody order is passed, the custodial parent must obtain permission through the court before relocating or taking the children out of the state for extended periods. In most cases, the judge takes the best interest of the child into account when a relocation situation is presented in court. If the custodial parent does not follow this procedure, the opposing parent may file a motion for returning the children to the original state. The legal recourse available to you can depend on the state you live in, as well as your particular circumstances. Family Lawyers on JustAnswer can answer any questions you may have and help you determine the best legal course of action.

After losing custody of children due to sexual abuse, if a parent starts spreading rumors about the new custodial guardians, would this be a form of slander or harassment?

A situation like this could actually be a defamation of character and the victim may want to seek legal counsel. There are usually two types of defamation:

Libel: Defamation by printed word. This could be letters, newspaper articles or publications on the internet.
Slander: Defamation by spoken word.

Depending on the situation, the court may award punitive damages, attorney fees and court costs to the victim.

What are the legal rights of a person accused of sexual and physical abuse?

When accused of any crime, a person has a right to legal defense in court, with or without legal counsel. To prove that the allegations are incorrect, the accused may have to produce evidence at the court hearing. If the allegations and charges are dropped, depending on the particulars of the case, the accused may have grounds for a slander or defamation of character suit. It may be in the best interest of the accused to seek the services of a lawyer, because sexual abuse is considered a serious offense in most states.

While it is serious, sexual abuse can sometimes be difficult to prove. Many times, ignorance of the law prevents valid cases of sexual abuse from even being reported to the authorities. Many of the lawyers on JustAnswer specialize in such cases, and can provide valuable inputs to help you determine the exact legal implications of your particular situation.
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