I have just discovered that my 10 year old son is being sexually abused by a neighbor. What do I do?
Here are my thoughts:
- Immediately report this matter to the police. If there is any physical evidence of the abuse that you can readily put your hands on take it with you. Do not confront the neighbor on your own – seek the help of the police first.
- Cooperate fully with the police. Your son will almost certainly need a medical examination. Cooperate with that effort.
- Follow any reasonable instruction from the police department and the medical personnel.
- If there is sufficient evidence the police will probably arrest your neighbor immediately. You will then be safe to go home.
- Talk to a lawyer about getting a court order keeping your neighbor away from the house, you and the children of the event he makes bond and is able to get out of jail.
- Get your son (and perhaps your other children) counseling. If you cannot afford private counseling the area rape trauma and sexual abuse center will give you a list of names of counselors who work for reduced rates. Some centers even provide some level of free counseling. You may need counseling yourself.
- You may wish to talk to a lawyer about filing a civil lawsuit against your neighbor. Sexual abuse is not only a crime but can also result in civil liability for the tort of battery. "Civil liability" means that you may be able to collect money damages for the harm caused to your son. The type of damages that can be collected include compensatory damages and punitive damages. The Law Offices of John Day is available for a free consultation on Tennessee sexual abuse cases.