San Francisco Sex Abuse Lawyer

Last updated Dec 11, 2023

If you are a sex abuse survivor, you have the option to seek justice outside of the criminal court system. At Edwards Henderson, we help survivors pursue financial compensation in San Francisco’s civil courtrooms.

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Key Takeaways

  • Sexual abuse is a horrific crime that may leave a survivor feeling traumatized in the aftermath of the assault.
  • Survivors of sex abuse may file a civil lawsuit while keeping in mind the relevant statute of limitations applicable in California for adult and child sex abuse.
  • The sex abuse lawyers at Edwards Henderson can help you secure compensation against the perpetrator and any other third-party institution that facilitated the crime.

San Francisco Adult and Child Sexual Abuse Lawsuits

Sexual violence is a horrific crime that can leave a person traumatized with physical symptoms and dangerous coping mechanisms. From depression and mental anguish to lifelong STDs and unwanted pregnancies, the perpetrator’s actions cause irreparable harm and suffering.

Survivors of sexual abuse face a long journey toward recovering from trauma. If you or a loved one experienced sexual abuse, remember you do not have to deal with this alone. Our lawyers at Edwards Henderson can help you pursue justice for the crime.

A successful sex abuse lawsuit cannot erase the damage done, but it can help pay for the treatment and other damages required to rebuild your life after your traumatic experience. It can also help ensure the perpetrator and other third-party facilitators do not hurt others like you in the future. A San Francisco sex abuse lawyer can guide you through the legal process to help you reclaim your peace of mind.

Do I Qualify for a Sex Abuse Lawsuit?

Sexual assault is so widespread in America that it occurs every 68 seconds. For a survivor, sexual assault is a heartbreaking reality that shatters their world. You may feel afraid to speak up or wonder if the abuse was somehow your fault. It was not.

A civil lawsuit and criminal proceedings in California can operate independently of each other. This is because the state pursues a criminal case, while a private individual can sue another person and/or entity. So, you may undertake civil action against your perpetrator and any third-party facilitators of the crime, such as the perpetrator’s employer, even if they are not criminally charged.

In order to file a lawsuit, you must do so within the statute of limitations, or deadlines, applicable in California. To file a sexual assault lawsuit, survivors of adult sexual abuse have 10 years from the date of the crime or three years from the date of discovery of the injury (physical or mental). Adult sex abuse relates to any instance of sexual assault that happened after the survivor turned 18 years old.

The California Child Victims Act

Childhood should be a time of innocence and unadulterated joy. Devastatingly, a child in America is sexually assaulted every nine minutes. When a child is sexually abused, they may not understand the nature of what happened to them, or may even have misplaced feelings of shame, guilt, or confusion attached to the crime. It often takes survivors of childhood sexual abuse years or even decades to come forward about the abuse.

In 2019, the California Child Victims Act was enacted to make the process of prosecuting a child sexual abuser easier for the survivor. Also known as Assembly Bill 218, this law increased the statute of limitations to the earliest of (i) 22 years from reaching the age of majority (i.e. the age of 18), (ii) five years from the discovery of damages, or (iii) upon reaching the age of 40.

This Act also criminalized intentional cover-up of known abuse of minors. A significant example of this is when the Catholic Church failed to report reports of child sexual abuse. Many religious leaders and organizations both within and outside of the Catholic Church have consequently been held liable for aiding sexual abuse within their institutions.

Survivors of a sexual abuse coverup may be entitled to receive compensation calculated at three times the damage suffered. A San Francisco Sex Abuse Lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and determine who can be held liable and what you should do next.

Benefits of Filing a Civil Sex Abuse Lawsuit

Alarmingly, only 25 out of every 1,000 perpetrators serve prison time for a sexual assault crime. That’s why instead of a criminal trial (or independently of it), you may pursue justice for sexual abuse by filing a civil lawsuit.

While civil action would not land your abuser in jail, it has the potential to hold them accountable for their actions by making them compensate you for the losses suffered as a result of the abuse. Also, unlike in criminal court, relevant companies and organizations who may have played a role in the sexual abuse occurring may be held accountable for their actions in civil court.

A sex abuse lawsuit can compensate you for your pain and suffering, as well as other relevant economic losses such as:

  • Therapy bills
  • Psychiatric treatment
  • Medical expenses
  • Treatment centers and rehabilitation centers
  • Loss of earnings, if the abuse affects the survivor’s ability to earn an income

Filing a lawsuit can be a difficult and tiresome process, especially after experiencing trauma. It is important to speak to a legal expert as quickly as you can to maximize your chances for reasonable compensation.

Who May Be Held Responsible in a San Francisco Sex Abuse Lawsuit?

If a single person committed sexual abuse, they are liable to you for damages. However, if the abuse was systematic or an individual was part of a larger organization, that entity may also be held accountable for failing to take reasonable measures to prevent the abuse from happening, reporting the crime, or covering up the sexual abuse.

Some examples of organizations that can be held liable for your lawsuit include:

What to Look for When Hiring a San Francisco Sex Abuse Lawyer

After a traumatic incident like sexual abuse, it can be hard to know where to turn next. The sex abuse lawyers at Edwards Henderson have secured hundreds of millions of dollars for survivors like you who are looking for justice. In doing so, our attorneys have made perpetrators pay for their despicable crimes and enabled others in similar situations to tell their truth and fight back.

Our sex abuse lawyers offer the following:

  • Decades of experience litigating sexual abuse claims
  • A no-obligation, free, and confidential consultation
  • No legal fees unless your case results in a verdict or settlement
  • Empathetic and trustworthy representation

Speak with a San Francisco Sex Abuse Lawyer Today

Our sex abuse lawyers at Edwards Henderson want you to feel safe and comfortable when seeking help. Our team of experienced attorneys has helped several survivors get back their voices. You do not need to suffer in silence any longer. Let us know your story, and we will do the rest. Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation today.

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Edwards Henderson is a nationally-recognized powerhouse litigation firm, dedicated to providing its clients with the highest quality legal services and, at the same time, making substantial, positive changes for the common good.

We are skilled litigators and experienced trial attorneys who have effectively pursued civil lawsuits against some of the most powerful individuals, organizations and big businesses on behalf of people, victims and small businesses. In fact, we specialize in handling cases where the power differential is greatest and we can use our experience and resources to even the playing field. Our recent trial results speak for themselves.

Our Results

  • $71 Million


  • $24 Million


  • $13.1 Million


EHL Testimonials

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“Brad Edwards handled my tort claim aggressively, attentively, and most importantly, he seemed to take what was maliciously done to me to heart. He handled my case as if it was his own. I cannot recommend him or his expertise enough.”

“I’m so thankful to Ms. Henderson. She went above and beyond for me on multiple cases. Her hard work and dedication to my cases changed my life. She won a lawsuit on my behalf against a high-profile and powerful defendant. Never once did she settle—she fought to the end for me and won, thus giving me my quality of life back.”

“Matt Weissing handled an injury case for my family a few years ago and the results were life-changing. I don’t know where we would be without him. If you want a lawyer who really cares about you and your case, this is him.”