5 Ways to Support a Loved One Who Is a Clergy Abuse Survivor

For many people, religion is a large part of life.  By extension, religious figures of authority, such as priests, bishops, and other members of a clergy, are embedded in a person’s faith and religious practices.  It is near unfathomable that abuse can happen at the hands of these trusted figures.  Unfortunately, countless cases of abuse by these same religious authorities have surfaced coupled with the reality that the abuses have been covered up for years by the religious institutions under whose watch the abuse occurred.  If your loved one has been the victim of clergy abuse in California, they do not have to feel alone as they navigate the legal process and pursue justice. If your loved one is a survivor of clergy abuse, there are several ways you can support them during this difficult time.

At Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Torrijos, our clergy abuse lawyers have knowledge and experience with sexual abuse law in California, and hope to offer you legal assistance during this challenging time. No one should have to endure abuse, especially at the hands of a religious leader they trust. If you are interested in legal support regarding your clergy abuse claim, reach out to our team of trusted clergy abuse lawyers to confidentially discuss how we may pursue justice for your losses.

How Can You Help a Family Member Who Has Survived Clergy Abuse in California?

Clergy abuse occurs when an individual with religious authority intentionally uses their role, position, and power to sexually harass, exploit, or engage in sexual activity with an individual who does not have the same power dynamic that they do. Some examples of clergy abuse may include sexualizing conversations, touching or hugging people who do not want to be touched, pushing for sexual involvement, using sexual language or jokes, pressing or rubbing up against an individual, or invading an individual’s personal space. The sexual activity suffered by victims of clergy abuse may sexual touching, kissing, oral sex, masturbation, intercourse, or rape.  Often times, this comes after a process of conditioning the victim – aka “grooming.”

Individuals who have suffered clergy abuse are likely dealing with immense emotional turmoil in addition to any physical injury they may have suffered. If your loved one has been a survivor of clergy abuse, there are several ways you can provide them with support:

Believe Them

If one of your loved ones confides in you regarding clergy abuse, it is important that you believe them despite what your prior opinion of the abuser may be. Many survivors choose not to disclose their experiences for fear of being blamed or not believed. However, if you are an ally and choose to believe them, they may be encouraged to pursue legal action and pursue justice for their losses.

Validate Them

After your family member shares their story with you, it is important that you validate their feelings and tell them that nothing they experienced is their fault.

Assess Their Safety

One of your main priorities should be to ensure that your loved one is not in any danger of continued abuse. Make sure to take your loved one’s feelings into account, but their safety always comes first.

Help Identify Resources

When a loved one shares that they have survived clergy abuse, you may support them by referring them to local resources they may turn to for help.

Encourage Them to Seek Legal Assistance

When a person is abused by a religious individual with power, they have the legal right to pursue justice and hold their abuser responsible for their actions.

To get help with a clergy abuse claim, contact a California lawyer as soon as possible.

Get Help From a Clergy Abuse Lawyer in California Today

The legal team at Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Torrijos is a 100% confidential and secure outlet for victims of clergy abuse in California. Our trusted lawyers will provide you with comfort and privacy while we discuss your options and work together to pursue the legal justice you deserve. To book a consultation and discuss the details of your potential clergy abuse case in confidence, feel free to call us at (310) 844-9696 or complete our contact form at your convenience.