Few things are more upsetting to think about than someone hurting your child in any way. However, when you begin to suspect that the very people you trust to care for your child are the ones abusing or neglecting them, it’s intolerable. And when your suspicions are based on the possibility of sexual abuse, it’s downright appaling.
At the D’Amore Law Group, we represent families whose children have experienced daycare sexual abuse. Our dedicated team of Oregon and Washington sexual assault attorneys are committed to your family and your pursuit of justice. We can help you hold abusive caregivers accountable for their horrific actions.
Sexual Abuse Statistics Among Children
Child abuse is something most parents cannot comprehend happening to their child. However, the reality is that child abuse, and specifically, child sexual abuse occurs much more frequently than most realize.
- 90% of children who are sexually abused suffer abuse at the hands of someone they know;
- In 2017, there were more than 2,200 daycare workers who abused children in their care; and
- 20% of all daycare abuse involves sexual assault.
Daycare workers are mandated reporters and must report suspected abuse of any kind. However, daycare workers are not likely to report sexual abuse of a child if they are the ones committing it.
Warning Signs of Daycare Sexual Abuse
It’s a known fact that children often say or do things that don’t make sense to adults. So it’s easy to write off a child’s complaints that their daycare instructor is “mean.” At the same time, children cannot articulate their thoughts as well as adults, so these comments should be taken seriously.
Of course, most children who suffer from sexual abuse at daycare don’t go home and tell their parents. This can make identifying sexual abuse difficult for parents. However, there are signs that parents should keep an eye out for, including:
- Children attempting to run away from home;
- Children coming home with torn or blood-stained clothing;
- Children complaining of pain or soreness around their genitals or buttocks;
- Children contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD);
- Children frequently bringing home gifts from daycare;
- Children having dreams about sexual situations;
- Children experiencing trouble sitting or walking;
- Children flinching in response to another’s sudden movement;
- Children suddenly exhibiting rude or aggressive behavior;
- Children seeking affection in unusual or inappropriate ways;
- Children starting to see their bodies as dirty or developing body-image issues at a young age;
- Children talking about having an older or adult friend; and
- Children using adult language that isn’t appropriate for their age and maturity level.
Of course, this is not a complete list of the signs that a child may be suffering from sexual abuse at daycare. If you suspect that your son or daughter is experiencing abuse at the hands of a daycare worker, contact law enforcement and file a report.
Keep an Eye on Daycare Workers
In addition to the signs and symptoms of sexual abuse that you observe in your child, there are also things to look for in terms of your child’s caretakers. Daycare workers should be kind, patient individuals who are fully attentive to a child’s needs. If you notice any of the following, it may support your suspicions that your child is experiencing abuse:
- Daycare workers are short-tempered with the children in your presence;
- Daycare workers do not conduct age-appropriate activities with the children;
- Daycare workers always have an excuse and get defensive when you ask questions; and
- Daycare workers seem burdened to be at work.
When choosing a daycare, try to choose one that hires people with appropriate training and experience in early childhood education. The daycare should have a low child-to-staff ratio, and the staff should be attentive to the children.
Should You Contact an Oregon Sexual Assault Lawyer?
Parents place a tremendous amount of trust in daycares. These facilities are responsible for looking after our children when we’re working or otherwise unable to care for them. When a daycare worker abuses this trust, they can—and should—be held accountable.
Parents who learn that their child is suffering from sexual abuse at daycare can file a lawsuit against the daycare worker and, in many cases, against the daycare itself. These lawsuits are based on the breach of the daycare’s duty to provide a safe environment for children.
Of course, daycare employees and management are unlikely to immediately accept responsibility when facing a sexual assault lawsuit. They may claim that the child is making things up or provide alternative explanations for a child’s symptoms. An experienced Oregon sexual assault lawyer familiar with daycare sexual assault cases can help families confront this terrible reality by anticipating the possible defenses and preparing accordingly.
If you suspect your child is suffering from abuse at the hands of a daycare worker, the time to act is now. Daycare workers who abuse children are not likely to stop until parents take action. By reporting an abusive daycare worker, you are not only protecting your child but also any other children who are exposed to the abuser.
Reach Out to a Dedicated Washington and Oregon Daycare Sexual Assault Attorney for Immediate Assistance
Learning that a child is being sexually abused while at daycare is among the hardest news for a parent to hear. However, you can take steps to hold your child’s abusers responsible for their actions. If you believe that a daycare worker is sexually abusing your child, reach out to the D’Amore Law Group for help. Our compassionate and understanding legal team has been handling sexual assault cases across Oregon and Washington for more than 30 years. With our help, you can hold abusive daycare workers accountable for their horrific acts. To learn more and to schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our experienced lawyers, give us a call today at 503-222-6333. You can also reach out to us through our online form, and one of our attorneys will be in touch.