Legal recourse for past sexual abuse

The sexual abuse of a child or other vulnerable person is one of the most heinous acts a perpetrator can commit. It has long-lasting consequences beyond what the criminal justice system can remedy. Survivors of sexual abuse in New Mexico should know their civil legal options as well.

There are many actions that constitute sexual abuse. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, sexual abusers frequently take advantage of relationships built on trust to gain access to and exploit their victims. RAINN reports that most abusers know the children they abuse. Sexual abuse of a child can include any type of sexual touching, intentionally exposing a minor to sexual conduct and forcing a minor to participate in sexual behavior. RAINN describes a wide range of physical and psychological problems that stem from child sexual abuse. They range from genital injury to suicidal ideation. These injuries can linger well beyond the duration of the abuse.

Survivors of child sexual abuse may be entitled to compensation from their abusers and others in positions of trust who failed to adequately protect them from abuse. The ability to sue for this compensation is subject to a statute of limitations. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, in New Mexico, a child sexual abuse survivor may bring a civil action against their abuser before the survivor turns 24 years old. In cases where the survivor has repressed memories of the sexual abuse, the statute of limitations is extended for a period of time after they discover their past abuse.




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