you have courage. you have choices ... - jellinek ?· you have courage. you have choices. you have...
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Were here to help.
You are not alone.
It was not Your fault.
You have courage.
You have choIces.
You have power.
Breaking the silence.
416.955.4800 | email@example.comA George Street Toronto, Ontario M5A 4K8
Fighting for you.Raising Awareness.
JELLINEK LAW OFFICEprofessional corporation
A Guide forChildhood SexualAbuse Survivors
Knowledge. Compassion. Dedication. Experience.
TRUST DESTROYED, SECRETS KEPT
Anyone can be sexually assaulted. Girls, boys, women and men can all be the victims of sexual predators.
Often the very people youre supposed to trust are the perpetrators of these horrible crimes.
Survivors of sexual assaults often keep these crimes secret because of threats, fear, guilt or shame.
If you were sexually assaulted, your life has probably been affected in many ways. Almost everything about you may have suffered your relationships, your education, and your career may have all been hurt by the childhood trauma. You may have experienced fear, guilt, hopelessness, depression, anger and confusion. You may have turned to drugs or alcohol to numb the pain.
Many survivors of childhood sexual abuse come to the realization that the pain they have is rooted in the abuse they suffered as children. Sometimes decades pass before a survivor is able to break the silence and start healing.
YOU HAVE CHOICE. YOU HAVE POWER.
For some survivors, exploring the possibility of taking action against the abuser(s) is an important part of the healing process. There are options available.
This booklet is to help you understand your options and, in particular, help you decide whether suing those responsible for the sexual abuse is the right choice for you.
YOU HAVE COURAGE
If you are reading this, you have great courage. You are breaking the silence and exposing the secrets.
For many survivors of sexual abuse, the first step to recovery is telling someone.
This booklet is for you
I dont want to survive. I want to live.
Those were words uttered by the first sexual abuse client that lawyer Simona Jellinek represented. Since then, Simona has been dedicated to helping her clients empower themselves and make healthy choices on their road to living a better life.
GOING TO THE POLICE
There is no statute of limitations for reporting sexual assaults. If there is enough evidence, the police will lay charges. It is important for any survivor to understand that even if the police do not lay charges, it doesnt mean they dont believe you. Rather, there may not be enough evidence to legally proceed. If the accused pleads not guilty, you will be required to provide evidence at the criminal trial and be cross examined by the accuseds lawyer.
It is very difficult to get a conviction in a criminal case. For this to happen, the judge or jury must be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt of the guilt of the accused. This is an extremely high standard.
If the accused is convicted or pleads guilty, you may submit a victim impact statement to tell the judge how the assault has affected you. As a survivor, it is important for you to understand that while reporting the sexual assault to the police can be very empowering, once the police are involved your ability to control the process will be limited.
For information - www.cicb.gov.on.caFor information - www.torontopolice.on.ca/sexcrimes/
THE CRIMINAL INJURIESCOMPENSATION BOARD
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board compensates victims of violent crimes.
An application must be made within two years of the incident, although extensions are often granted for childhood sexual abuse. The application process may also include obtaining information from medical professionals and others. The offender may be notified of your application and hearing. The hearing can be in writing, or in person. The Board will notify you of its decision and you have a right to appeal the decision if you do not agree with it.
SUING THOSE RESPONSIBLE
Sometimes, exploring the possibility of suing the abuser(s) is an important part of the healing process. If you sue, you will be asking the Court to compensate you for what happened. If a judge or a jury believes you were abused or otherwise harmed, you will receive compensation for the damage that was caused. Although the direct goal of suing is obtaining compensation, sometimes the act of taking control and doing something to them is an equally important component to survivors. Unlike reporting the crime to the police, if you choose to sue, you retain control of what happens. It is your decision to proceed to a trial, accept a settlement, or discontinue the claim altogether. For many survivors, having control is an integral part of the healing.
DO I HAVE A CLAIM?
If you were sexually assaulted as a child, you may have a claim against the person who assaulted you, and also against other people who can be found responsible. Often, the perpetrator of the abuse is dead or does not have any money to pay, so we look to see if there are institutions that may, in law, be responsible as well.
WHO ELSE CAN BE HELD RESPONSIBLE?
Childrens Aid Society for the assaults of a foster parent
Religious institutions for the assaults of priests or ministers
Childrens organizations, such as the Scouts Canada or Big Brothers, may be held responsible for assaults by their volunteers or employees
School boards for assaults by teachers or staff
Other institutions or government agencies, depending on your situation
Liability means that one or more people (or institutions) are legally responsible for the harm that was caused to you.
If the perpetrator of the abuse is alive, we can sue for assault, and possibly also breachof fiduciary duty, if the perpetrator was in atrust-like relationship with you.
Even if the perpetrator is dead, we may still be able to sue others who may be responsible in law. In many cases we can sue the institution or company that placed you in contact with the perpetrator and failed you in some way, allowing the abuse to happen in the first place.
In a civil case, you, the plaintiff, must prove your case on a balance of probabilities. That means that as long as your case is even a little stronger than the defendants case, you have proven your case.
Because sexual abuse is by its very nature a secret crime, in most cases there is no direct evidence. Seldom do we have photographic proof of the assaults or eyewitnesses. Sometimes our investigations reveal previous complaints against the perpetrator or negligence on the part of the institution that allowed the perpetrator to commit the sexual assaults.
Sometimes the case rests on your own credibility. But, unlike perhaps when you were a child, your voice is heard.
LIABILITY AND DAMAGES
In order to be successful in a civil case, you must prove liability and that your damages were caused by the abuse.
What do i needto prove?
What do i needto prove?
SPECIAL DAMAGESPast and future income loss, costs related to therapy, and medication and rehabilitation costs are all classified as special damages.
THERAPY AND MEDICAL COSTS
Many survivors need counseling and therapy to cope with the effects of their childhood trauma. Sometimes, medication is helpful with depression or anxiety. In most cases, claims can be made for both past expenses associated with care costs as well as future care needs.
Many people who were abused as children have difficulties in school and later with their jobs. Some survivors find it difficult to live up to what they know is their potential, while others travel from job to job and feel they never fit in. Authority issues, trust issues and lack of self confidence often all contribute to survivors inability to obtain or maintain good jobs.
Courts are recognizing that childhood sexual abuse can have a long-term impact on a persons education and career.
Compensation for income loss, both past and future, is available for survivors. However, it is very important to realize that although judges and juries are getting better at compensating for loss of income, it is not easy to prove these claims. Courts across the country have awarded survivors as little as $5,000 for loss of income, to as much as $500,000 for loss of income. Each case is different and evaluated on its own unique facts.
In Canada there are essentially two main types of damages. The first is called general damages, often referred to as pain and suffering. The second is called special damages and includes loss of income and therapy costs.
In 1977, the Supreme Court ruled that no matter how badly you were hurt through someone elses fault, the maximum amount that could be awarded is $100,000. With inflation, the maximum recoverable today is approximately $340,000.
Cases of sexual abuse generally do not attract the upper limit of general damages. In fact, its rare for a case of sexual abuse to be awarded more than $250,000 for general damages. Although no two cases are alike, many awards for general damages fall in the $25,000 to $175,000 range.
When assessing general damages, courts lookat many factors, including what happened,whether the perpetrator was in a position oftrust over you, and how much your life has beenadversely affected.
TWO IMPORTANT POINTS TO REMEMBER:
1. No amount of
money will ever
compensate you for
2. No matter the