As difficult as it is to think about, sexual abuse can happen anywhere, including daycares, after-school programs, and summer camps. Parents have the right to feel like they can trust the adults taking care of their children. Unfortunately, sometimes those same adults are responsible for horrific abuse that can have long-lasting impacts on children.
What is Child Sexual Abuse in Texas Daycares?
Any sexual activity with a minor is child sexual abuse since children cannot consent. The sexual abuse does not always have to be physical. Daycare providers can sexually abuse children by exposing themselves or by producing, owning, or sharing pornographic images or movies. Sexual abuse also includes, but isn’t limited to, touching, fondling, and intercourse.
While parents may believe that sexual abuse happens when the predator and victim or alone, this isn’t always true. Sexual abuse can occur at daycare even when there are other children or workers nearby.
Pedophiles often groom their victims ahead of time, paying special attention to the child and trying to earn their trust. Often the child feels like they are an accomplice to the crime, and if they tell anyone, they fear they will get into trouble. Parents may worry about “stranger danger” when it comes to their children, but the truth is that more often than not, sexual abuse happens with a person of trust.
Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) estimates as many as 93 percent of victims under the age of 18 know the abuser.
What Signs of Sexual Abuse Should Parents Look For?
It’s not always easy to see the signs of child sexual abuse; however, there are some physical and behavioral changes parents may notice and should be concerned about.
- Infections or soreness around the genital area – including urinary tract infections, yeast infections, or signs of a sexually transmitted infection
- Bleeding, bruising, swelling around genital area
- Bloody, torn, or stained clothing
- Difficulty walking or sitting
- Unusual interest in sexual matters. Often children experiencing sexual abuse will start to act out inappropriate sexual behavior. Some children might have knowledge about sexual matters well beyond what they should know.
- Anxiety or fear about daycare. A child who is being sexually abused at daycare might fake an illness to get out of going or express anxiety or fear about being dropped at daycare. If this seems to be a recurring pattern, it could mean daycare abuse has occurred.
- Sudden changes in behavior. Young children in particular often start to act out when they are experiencing abuse. If your normally even-tempered child suddenly starts to show aggressive behavior, this could mean there is daycare abuse. Some children will regress instead; for example, a child who is potty trained might suddenly start wetting or soiling their pants. Children who are abused may also start to exhibit symptoms of depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Recurring nightmares. When your child suddenly starts having bad dreams or difficulty sleeping, this might mean something is happening at daycare.
It’s possible for some of these behaviors to be part of normal childhood behavior. Parents know their children and know what is normal and not. If you believe your child has been abused, it’s important to report it immediately to both the police as well as to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. You can file your report online or on the phone at any time.
What Types of Damages Can Be Recovered after Sexual Abuse?
If you believe your child is a victim of child sexual abuse at a Texas daycare or other childcare facility, there are a variety of damages that could be recovered. It’s important to take your child to a doctor if you believe they have been abused. Some signs of abuse may not be obvious, but a doctor will be able to help identify if your child was injured or if they have a sexually transmitted infection.
The physical injuries may take more than one doctor’s visit to address, and sexually transmitted infections or other injuries could require several rounds of medicine. Our team at The Button Law Firm works to help families recover damages for those doctor’s visits, as well as for the cost of visiting a psychologist. Child sexual abuse can have lasting effects that require therapy and other treatments for months or even years.
All of the doctor’s visits and care required after sexual abuse can mean parents miss a significant amount of work and possibly lost wages. Our team may also be able to help parents recover the income they lost while caring for their child.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Quickly Should I Hire an Attorney?
It’s important to hire an attorney soon after the incident to ensure a case is filed within the statute of limitations. Each state has a time period within which a claim for damages must be made, which is called the statute of limitations. The laws are often dependent on who was hurt, the situation, and where the incident happened. It’s important to speak with a lawyer to make sure your case is filed in the correct timeframe.
Why Should I Work With The Button Law Firm?
Cases involving children are complex, so it’s important to hire a firm well-versed in the laws regarding children, and one that has experience holding daycares and caregivers accountable. Our team at The Button Law Firm has dedicated their careers to protecting children from abuse and neglect that happens at the hands of daycares, and we’re ready to help any child and their family move forward.
Who Do We Work With?
If your child was abused in a private daycare or after-school care center in Texas, contact the experienced daycare injury legal team at the Button Law Firm. We represent children from all over Texas, including but not limited to West Texas, Houston, and Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW). We are dedicated to protecting children from harm, and we will make sure the daycare center and childcare worker responsible for your child’s injury are held accountable – as we have helped guide many parents and families within Midland, Houston, Dallas, and the surrounding areas.