Our juvenile system was intended to help rehabilitate children that have violated the law and need structure in a confined facility to provide stability and time to improve their behavior, heal their traumas, and provide a positive future where they can be successful as adults. Unfortunately, guards in the juvenile system often take advantage of these children, who are some of the most vulnerable, and often why they have found themselves in the detention facility in the first place. It is imperative that we hold these adults accountable for their dangerous behavior and protect our children. For more information contact our personal injury lawyer.
Guards’ Access to Files Makes Children Vulnerable to Sexual Abuse in Detention Facilities
Guards are successful at preying on children confined in detention facilities given they have supervisory roles over them. Additionally, they have access to their files, which provides all the information they need to find the most vulnerable children such as prior history of abuse and having an unstable home. They use the knowledge from the files to connect with the child to form a bond or trust and at times to threaten the child. This all leads to repeated sexual abuse of a child through no fault of their own.
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Sexual Abuse in Juvenile Detention Facilities: A Common and Systemic Problem
Children are often sexually abused in these facilities while under the threat of the guards. Often the minors are told that if they do not participate in sexual acts with the guard, they will lose privileges or time will be added to their sentences. Alternatively, the abusers often offer the child incentives for performing sexual acts such as extra food, activities or free time. Regardless of what is offered or what is threatened, the child usually does not have much of a choice as there is typically no one to turn to for help. The child is usually afraid to seek out another authority figure for fear that person will not listen, is already aware of what is going on, and is not doing anything or even worse, that person will join in on the abuse.
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How Guards Use Threats and Incentives to Exploit Minors in California Juvenile Detention Facilities
For many the abuse does not end until they leave the facility. A transfer may allow for the abuse to stop, but often a new guard at a new facility will start abusing the minor once transferred. Abuse of minors is well known by the facilities and guards, and instead of doing something to stop it, it is unfortunately worn as a badge of honor for many of these facility employees. In fact, there are many instances where young girls have become pregnant by guards and threatened with additional time if they do not agree to an abortion. Instead of someone protecting a child who in no way should have become pregnant in a guarded facility, the child winds up with the blame and a lifetime of psychological trauma. Those who have not agreed to the abortion often lose custody of the child once born and may never see their child again.
The Lingering Trauma of Childhood Sexual Abuse in Detention Facilities
Sexual abuse is never the survivor’s fault, but all too often the survivor self blames reasoning that they should have said no, that they should have told someone or that somehow their behavior brought on the abuse. It often takes years of healing and therapy to see that the abuser is the only one at fault.
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The Statute of Limitations for Childhood Sexual Abuse in California
Due to the significant trauma that sexual abuse causes a child and the years it takes to heal, the statute of limitations in California was recently extended with the understanding that it typically takes years if not decades for a survivor to come forward. Currently, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse in California can bring a case typically until they are 40 years old and under certain circumstances, it is possible to bring a case after the age of 40. Bringing a claim against the facility or the guard provides an opportunity for the survivor to hold the facility and the abuser accountable for their wrongdoing. It provides an opportunity for compensation for the abuse and years of trauma and allows for the opportunity to seek out help in the future to heal.
Seeking Justice for Childhood Sexual Abuse in California Juvenile Detention Facilities
If you were abused at a detention facility in California including those run by California Youth Authority, the Division of Juvenile Justice, any county in the state or any other detention facility, you may be entitled to bring a claim for compensation. Many individuals have already come forward providing information on years of abuse at CYA-Ventura, numerous Los Angeles County Fire Camps and many other facilities. You are not alone in this fight, and we hope we can assist you in finding the justice you deserve.