Reporting Catholic Church sex abuse in Washington State involves contacting your local police department. You can work with a Washington sexual assault lawyer who can help you report the incident and build your case.
Reporting sexual abuse isn’t easy to do on your own, especially if your abuser is a church official you know. You could also report the abuse to:
- The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington
- The Washington Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS)
- The Washington State Department of Children, Youth, & Families (DCYF)
Working with a legal team can help make the reporting process easier so that you have more time to focus on your mental and physical health.
How to Report Catholic Church Sexual Misconduct
Your first step in reporting sexual abuse is to contact local law enforcement, DSHS, DCYF, or the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington. Once you’ve made the call, you may need to answer questions about:
- The location of the abuse
- The date and time of the abuse
- Your name
- Your phone number
If you’re reporting child abuse, you may need to be prepared to answer interview questions about the child being abused. If you have a lawyer working for you, they can help you make the phone call to report abuse and serve as your advocate while you share the details of your case.
Reporting Abuse by Catholic Officials Anonymously
Coming forward about your Catholic Church sex abuse is a tough conversation. It can be even more difficult to discuss your case when it involves a member of the church that you knew and trusted. This is why many people choose to report their abuse anonymously.
Some people who wish to file an anonymous report call Washington State Crime Stoppers. With Crime Stoppers, you won’t have to share any personal information like your name. Instead, they’ll provide a code you can use to track your case and pass on information to the police to investigate.
For other options for reporting abuse by church leaders, consider working with a personal injury lawyer.
For a free legal consultation, call (725) 900-9000
How a Sexual Assault Lawyer Can Help You Report Your Case
If you partner with a law firm right after a faith leader abuses you, they can help you report the incident. There are also several other tasks your lawyer can manage for you, including:
- Gathering evidence to prove you deserve damages from the abuser
- Taking the sexual abuse allegations to trial, if necessary
- Communicating on your behalf so that you do not need to interact with anyone involved in your case on your own
- Helping reporters of child abuse access the resources the child needs
- Answering any questions you have
- Explaining how the laws in Washington State apply to your case
- Managing your case on a contingency-fee basis, so you do not owe any money upfront or out-of-pocket
- Keeping you informed about any updates in your case
Plus, when you hire a lawyer to help you, you will have more time to focus on your well-being and spend time with your family.
Statute of Limitations for Filing a Sex Abuse Case in Washington State
Interpreting the laws that apply to your case is difficult on your own. Our clergy sexual abuse lawyers can explain the statute of limitations that you must adhere to when filing a lawsuit against the church or a member of the church.
Generally, RCW § 4.16.340 gives you three years from the date the assault occurred to file a personal injury lawsuit against the liable party. However, some exceptions may toll this filing deadline, especially if your case involves abuse of minors or child sexual abuse cover-ups.
Your attorney can explain the filing deadline if you reported instances of child abuse.
Reporting Catholic Church Sex Abuse May Allow You to Recover Damages
If you or someone you love is a survivor of Catholic Church sexual violence, you could seek compensation from the liable party. Some of the damages you may be eligible to recover include:
- Medical expenses for past and ongoing treatments, hospital stays, medical testing, doctor’s appointments, and travel to appointments
- Mental health therapy costs
- Mental anguish for issues such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) linked to the incident
- Lost income if you had to take time off work to prioritize your mental and physical recovery
- Reduced earning capacity if the mental and physical injuries you suffered make you unable to return to the job you once had
- Physical pain and suffering
The damages you can recover depend on the details of your case. Many sexual abuse survivors decide to hire a lawyer who can determine the total value of their civil case.
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Other Benefits of Reporting Your Abuse or Child Sex Abuse
If you or someone you know faced sex abuse in Washington State, you may be hesitant to report it. Consider the following benefits of reporting sexual abuse:
- It may help you feel a sense of justice against the person who abused you or the party that covered up your abuse
- It can help you recover a financial settlement that pays for any of the losses you suffered
- It might prevent your abuser from hurting anyone else
Your legal team will advocate for you throughout your case and act as your voice if you would prefer to remain anonymous.
Call Van Law Firm for Guidance in Reporting Catholic Church Sex Abuse in Washington State
Reporting sex abuse by a member of the church isn’t easy. Talking about the details of your case may be even more difficult. The team at Van Law Firm aims to provide a safe environment that allows you to seek legal advocacy.
Our team is here to offer you legal advice and explain your next steps. Call us today to begin your case with a free initial consultation. We’re available to talk to you 24/7.
No obligation consultations are always free.Let Us Help You! Call Now: (725) 900-9000
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