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California Sex Abuse Attorney

For decades, our team has been handled some of the most complex sexual abuse and personal injury claims across the nation. For more information, please contact our office to set up a free consultation at (800) 477-2989.

California Sex Abuse Attorney

Empowering Survivors Through Compassionate Legal Counsel

At The Zalkin Law Firm, we are proud to advocate for the survivors of sexual abuse and assault. We understand how difficult and insurmountable it can seem to seek justice for the traumatic abuse you suffered, which is why we provide compassionate and caring legal counsel to sexual abuse survivors. No one should have to stand alone against their abuser.

We are nationally regarded as one of the most successful sexual abuse law firms because our attorneys have helped win landmark cases against some of the largest organizations and institutions at the global scale. We have also represented hundreds of survivors in both multi-victim and single-victims sex abuse cases. While no firm can guarantee a favorable outcome for any client’s case, a proven track record of success does testify to a practice’s knowledge, acumen, and prowess.

Contact The Zalkin Law Firm online to speak to a California sex abuse lawyer. Confidential consultations are offered free of charge and obligation.

Millions Recovered on Behalf of Our Clients

California Sexual Abuse Law

Sexual abuse in California is one of the many categories of “sex crimes,” a blanket term for a multitude of offenses related to unwanted sexual activities performed without the consent of one of the parties involved. Examples of sex crimes include:

  • Sexual assault and battery: These are both defined as any form of nonconsensual touching of another person’s intimate areas with sexual intent. This includes when an abuser forces another person (without their consent) to either touch themselves or touch the abuser’s intimate parts with sexual intent. Some other examples include unwanted kissing, groping, and rubbing.
  • Rape: Nonconsensual sexual intercourse — often involving some form of penetration — achieved through violence or threats of violence, as well as in situations in which the victim is unable to give consent. For instance, by law, people under the influence of drugs or alcohol are not able to consent to sexual acts.
  • Child molestation: Any lewd acts involving a child under the age of 14, including touching with sexual intent, child pornography, and child prostitution.
  • Statutory rape: Engaging in sexual acts with anyone under 18 years old, which is the age of consent in California. By state law, minors cannot truly “give” consent.
  • Sexual harassment: An umbrella term for any unwanted sexual advances or comments, as well as soliciting sexual activity through coercion.

Unfortunately, victims of sex crimes may be unsure about what legal options are available to them. Our caring lawyers can discuss your case with you and help you determine the best course of action, offering an ear free of judgment throughout the entire legal process.

Unpacking Sexual Harassment: Dealing with “Gray Areas”

Sexual harassment can be quite complex, as it involves a wide range of unwanted sexual acts and advances. Sadly, many victims of sexual harassment may feel confused by a so-called gray area or blurred line concerning what they went through. In California, an act is deemed sexual harassment if it can be considered unwelcome and abusive from the victim’s viewpoint and from an objective stance, meaning the average person would consider it abusive.

If you feel as though you were subjected to sexual harassment, it is advisable to speak to an attorney about what you went through. We know it can seem intimidating and difficult to open up about what happened, particularly when you are unsure whether the law will consider it harassment. There is no shame in enlisting the help of a professional to obtain clarity on the matter.

Common Signs of Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is a traumatic and deeply distressing experience, and it can manifest in various signs and symptoms, which may vary from person to person. It's important to note that these signs do not necessarily indicate sexual abuse on their own, but they could be potential indicators that someone has experienced sexual abuse.

Some common signs of sexual abuse include:

  • Behavioral Changes:
    • Sudden and unexplained changes in behavior, mood, or personality.
    • Increased aggression or withdrawal from social activities.
    • Regressive behaviors like bedwetting, thumb-sucking, or excessive clinging.
  • Sexual Knowledge and Behavior:
    • Age-inappropriate knowledge about sexual acts, anatomy, or language.
    • Engaging in explicit sexual play with toys or other children.
    • Sexualized behavior that is inconsistent with their age.
  • Fear and Anxiety:
    • Frequent nightmares or night sweats.
    • Fear or avoidance of specific people, places, or activities.
    • Generalized anxiety, panic attacks, or phobias.
  • Changes in Emotional Well-being:
    • Sudden mood swings, depression, or suicidal thoughts.
    • Emotional numbness or emotional outbursts.
    • Low self-esteem, shame, or guilt.
  • Sleep Disturbances:
    • Insomnia or difficulty falling asleep.
    • Nightmares or night terrors.
  • Changes in Eating Habits:
    • Loss of appetite or overeating as a coping mechanism.
    • Unexplained weight loss or gain.
  • Self-Harm and Risky Behavior:
    • Engaging in self-harming behaviors such as cutting.
    • Engaging in risky behaviors like substance abuse or promiscuity.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms:
    • Flashbacks or intrusive thoughts related to the abuse.
    • Hypervigilance, irritability, and a heightened startle response.
  • Physical Symptoms:
    • Unexplained pain, bleeding, or discomfort in the genital or anal areas.
    • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in a child or non-consensual victim.
  • Changes in Relationships:
    • Difficulty forming or maintaining relationships.
    • Fear of physical contact or intimacy.
    • Difficulty trusting others.

Paths to Justice: Civil vs. Criminal Cases

Depending on the outcome they desire for their case, sexual abuse survivors can file a claim in civil court or criminal court, or both.

In civil courts, survivors will file a case against their abuser, traditionally with the help of legal representation. An attorney will fight to recover damages from the abuser and any other entities involved that may have contributed to the abuse, such as a college dormitory with negligent security or the abuser’s employer.

In criminal cases, survivors will not be able to recover as much compensation if they win because the claim will be handled as one between the state and the abuser. Therefore, survivors will not have as much of a say in the direction of the case and may only be consulted as a witness. That being said, the outcome of a criminal case is conviction and imprisonment if the abuser is found guilty.

How Long Do I Have to File a Sex Abuse Claim?

Fortunately, California takes sexual abuse cases very seriously. There are multiple statute of limitations surrounding sexual abuse, and a lawyer can help survivors determine which statute of limitation applies to their case.

The statute of limitations in California, Assembly Bill (AB) 1619, allows survivors who were 18 or older at the time of the abuse 10 years from the date of the last abuse to file a claim, or 3 years after the date the survivor discovered an injury related to the abuse — whichever is later. AB 1619 went into effect January 1, 2019, so if the abuse occurred before this date, survivors only have 3 years after the last abuse occurred or after they discovered an abuse-related injury.

The state of California offers a larger window of time for victims of childhood sexual abuse under AB 218, allowing child sexual abuse survivors 3 years from January 1, 2020 to file claims that previously expired under the old statute of limitations, regardless of the survivor’s current age. AB 218 allows survivors until the age of 40 to file a claim, or 5 years after an injury resulting from the abuse was discovered. Again, these deadlines hinge on whichever occurs later.

Fighting Tirelessly for Sexual Abuse Survivors

For more than 20 years, The Zalkin Law Firm has fought for hundreds of sex abuse survivors to bring their abusers to justice. We are acclaimed by Super Lawyers®, the National Trial Lawyers, Martindale-Hubbell, and are often featured by prominent media outlets, such as the San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times. If you are considering pursuing a sex abuse claim via the civil justice system, let our passionate lawyers fight tooth and nail to hold your abuser accountable for the horrific trauma they put you through. We understand a legal win cannot change the past, but it can help you obtain a sense of closure and the financial means to move on.

Here are some of the advantages we, at The Zalkin Law Firm, P.C., can provide:

  • Legal Expertise: Our experienced attorneys specialize in sexual abuse cases, possessing an in-depth understanding of California's laws and the legal complexities surrounding such cases. This expertise ensures that we can provide the best legal representation for our clients.
  • Support and Advocacy: We offer compassionate and supportive guidance to survivors throughout the legal process. We understand the emotional and psychological toll of sexual abuse and aim to provide a safe and empathetic environment for our clients.
  • Investigation and Evidence Gathering: We have the resources and experience to conduct thorough investigations, gather evidence, and work with experts to build a strong case. This is crucial in establishing liability and seeking justice for the survivor.
  • Statute of Limitations Knowledge: In California, the statute of limitations for sexual abuse claims can be complex. We can help survivors understand their rights and navigate these limitations effectively, as recent changes in California law have extended the time frame for filing claims.
  • Negotiation Skills: Our lawyers are skilled negotiators and can work with opposing parties, such as institutions or individuals responsible for the abuse, to seek settlements that provide fair compensation for the survivor. We aim to achieve the best possible outcomes for our clients.
  • Litigation Experience: When negotiations fail to deliver the desired results, we are fully prepared to take cases to court and represent our clients in litigation. Our litigation experience allows us to fight vigorously for our clients' rights.
  • Compensation and Justice: We work diligently to secure compensation for survivors to cover medical and therapy expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Additionally, we seek justice by holding perpetrators and institutions accountable for their actions.
  • Protection from Retaliation: We can help ensure that survivors are protected from retaliation or harassment, often a concern in sexual abuse cases. We take legal measures to safeguard our clients' well-being.
  • Privacy and Confidentiality: Our team understands the importance of maintaining our clients' privacy and confidentiality throughout the legal process. We take steps to protect sensitive information and ensure that survivors are not re-traumatized.
  • Empowerment: Our aim is to empower survivors by giving them a voice and enabling them to seek accountability for those responsible. By standing with survivors, we help them on their journey to healing and closure.

When you are ready, call our California sex abuse lawyers at The Zalkin Law Firm at (800) 477-2989.

Our California Office:

10590 W Ocean Air Drive, Suite 125
San Diego, CA 92130

Helping Our Clients Get Closure

Millions Recovered on Behalf of Our Clients
  • Clergy Sexual Abuse

    Irwin Zalkin was one of the lead trial lawyers and part of the trial team prepared to commence a 14 victim trial against the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles, the day a global settlement was reached in the amount of $660,000,000.

  • Clergy Sexual Abuse

    Irwin Zalkin was appointed Mediation Liaison Counsel and a lead negotiator by United States Magistrate Judge Leo S. Papas on behalf of over 144 victims of childhood sexual abuse against the Roman Catholic Bishop of San Diego.

  • Clergy Sexual Abuse

    Irwin Zalkin was part of the team of lawyers representing clergy sexual abuse survivors in the Diocese of Orange, California who recently helped to negotiate the first $100,000,000 global settlement in the country involving childhood sexual abuse by members of the Catholic clergy.

  • Clergy Sexual Abuse

    Multi-victim case against religious group home.

  • Lohse v. Lakeland Village HOA (Oakland, CA) $8,000,000

    An $8 Million judgment against a resort facility after a six-week jury trial for a woman who was rendered a paraplegic following a fall off of an unguarded pier.

  • Clergy Sexual Abuse

    Multi-victim case against a religious leader and institution.

  • Child Sexual Abuse
    Single Victim

    $4.25 Million paid to single sexual abuse Plaintiff.

  • Clergy Sexual Abuse

    Three survivors abused as minors by priests associated with a Northern California Diocese.

  • Child Sexual Abuse
    Single Victim

    $4.15 Million paid to single sexual abuse Plaintiff.

  • Child Sexual Abuse
    Single Victim

    $4 Million paid to single sexual abuse Plaintiff.

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