Clergy abuse has victimized thousands of people across the United States, and many more around the world. Victims of this abuse deal with the consequences for their entire lives and deserve to receive justice and compensation for the abuse they suffered through. As a Coloradan, the facts about clergy abuse, and the laws associated with it, are often unique when compared to other states. To educate yourself, here are seven clergy abuse facts that every Coloradan must know:
1. There is No Statute of Limitations
Thankfully, there is no statute of limitations placed on child abuse-related lawsuits in Colorado, and this includes clergy-involved cases. Thanks to this, victims can come forward when they are ready, and when they can safely do so. Since the vast majority of clergy abuse victims are minors, they often need or want to wait until adulthood to come forward about their abuse, after all. Thanks to these laws, they have the breathing room they need to prepare to seek justice against their abuser.
2. Abusers Do Not Fit Into a Single Demographic
Many people tend to be stereotypical about the profile of clergy-associated abusers. Specifically, they assume that all abusive clergy members are men. However, this could not be further from the truth. Upwards of 10% of abuse victims in these cases were abused by a woman. Ending this type of stereotyping is essential for destigmatizing victims and their cases – which will in turn help more victims come forward about the abusive behavior that they suffered through.
3. Settlements are Available
Because the crimes abusive clergy members committed were so heinous, victims can seek lawsuits against their victims, and reach a settlement amount that can help pay for the damages that they suffered. Lawsuits can be brought against both an individual abuser, and the church association that helped to enable abuse. The average settlement amount sometimes reaches the hundreds of thousands but has even reached the millions in some cases. A lawyer can help you determine what the fair and appropriate settlement amount is for your individual case.
4. Hundreds of Clergy Members Have Been Charged
As the clergy abuse crisis has become more visible in the public eye, the number of abusive clergy members that have been brought to justice has increased drastically. Currently, over five hundred clergy members have been charged, sued, or accused. As the statute of limitations laws change, and public support for victims increases, it becomes harder and harder for abusive clergy members to evade justice (either on their own or through the help of Catholic Church officials.
5. Victim-Led Support Groups Exist
Clergy abuse can cause significant, life-long health issues for victims. Due to this, they must be given the most support possible from their communities, family members, and loved ones. Thankfully, many support groups exist to help victims of clergy abuse. In many cases, these groups are founded and led by fellow victims, who can help you navigate the difficult process of coming forward about your abuse. These groups can also help you find the proper legal help you need to bring your abuser to justice.
6. Legal Assistance Can Help You Through Your Case
Having an experienced clergy abuse lawyer in your corner can make all the difference. Knowing that you have someone who can assist you during this trying time is key. They can assist you with evidence gathering, filing your suit, and reaching a fair, appropriate settlement for the damages your abuser caused. If you’re unsure of where to find an appropriate lawyer, local victim support groups can point you in the right direction.
7. More Victims are Coming Forward than Ever Before
Due to the growing public awareness of the clergy abuse crisis, and the outpouring of support for its victims, more victims are coming forward than ever before. As support groups, legal help, and public outcry continue to grow, more abusive clergy members can be brought to justice. The first step is always asking for help, so always allow yourself the time you need to come forward about your abuse. Once you’re ready, there will be help waiting for you.
The World is Ready to Help You
More than ever before, the world is ready to help victims of clergy abuse. If you’ve been waiting to come forward about your abuse, or if you’ve been hesitant about filing a suit against your abusers, you do not need to wait any longer. With the right legal help and support groups, you can finally receive the compensation that you rightfully deserve, and bring your abusers to justice.
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