Diane

Victim Website For Legal Information

The National Center for Victims of Crime sponsors a website that provides valuable information and assistance for crime victims.  It is called VictimLaw and is accessed at www.victimlaw.info. VictimLaw is a unique and groundbreaking resource offering a comprehensive, searchable, online database of more than 16,000 victims’ rights-related legal provisions, including:

justice101

Survivors Seeking Justice

The quest for justice by adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse moved forward incrementally in 2015. While there were some disappointments, to be sure, there were significant victories, both in the legislatures and the courts, to provide grounds for hope going forward. And, perhaps as important, the urgent need to hold child predators legally accountable is being reported more frequently in the media, which is turn, increases public awareness of the issue. Moreover, advocacy groups have a renewed commitment to join together in the fight to advance survivors’ legal rights.

Diane

Steps on the Path to Truth

Childhood sexual abuse survivors who seek legal redress against their perpetrators share a common goal: A fair chance to establish the truth of what was done to them as children. No more, no less. But given the unfairness of our justice system’s disposition of survivor cases, that goal is elusive and too often, unattainable. However, this year, there have been some developments – some legal, some global – that could advance incrementally the goal of survivors to obtain justice against their abusers.

Diane

Monsignor Lynn’s Conviction Reinstated

             “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Diane

Love and Justice

Commenting recently on this country’s responsibility to address the plight of young minority men struggling in poor, neglected communities, President Obama stated, “Really, that’s what this comes down to – do we love the kids?” 

Copyright

© Written by Neil Jaffee, Legal Counsel

Diane

The Duty To Protect Children From Sexual Abuse

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Copyright

© Article submitted by Neil Jaffee for print

Diane

Unjust Commonality

What do cases involving domestic violence, sexual assault, and childhood sexual abuse all have in common?  The multi-faceted answer sheds a needed light on the lack of a coherent societal response to each of these despicable acts.  To start, society first needs to recognize that these acts constitute major crimes and must be addressed as such.  Regrettably, there is growing evidence that our legal institutions marginalize these crimes and fail to respond to them with the level of seriousness they warrant. 

Diane

Why Not the Children

Neil Jafee, the legal counsel and co-producer of the film Pursuit of Truth: Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse Seeking Justice wrote an excellent article which is displayed below. The fact that sexual assaults occurring on campuses and in the military are finally being recognized by the President and Vice President is wonderful. Mr. Jaffee asks, though, when will the sexual assault of children and its impact on adult survivors be recognized as well?

Diane

Legal Tools for Sexual Assault Survivors

There is an excellent article written by Claire Harwell, JD, the former Division Director of the New Mexico Attorney General’s Violence Against Women Office. Since many survivors have asked about legal remedies, Dr. Harwell provides an excellent overview of some of the remedies that are available. This information gives a sexual assault survivor several options that may not have been considered.  Shown below is an excerpt of her article.

Diane

Justice for Adult Survivors of Child Abuse

On the evening of April 28, the film Pursuit of Truth was shown at our law offices of Alston & Bird in Washington, D.C. It depicts the horrendous obstacles adult survivors of child abuse face in the criminal justice system when trying to sue their perpetrators. There exists a brick wall of denial in America about the long-term impact of child abuse. Diane VanHOllen

Diane

Child Abuse Survivors and the Justice System - Part 5

There has been a huge movement to deny the existence of repressed memories even though there is over 100 years of recorded history of this happening, Sigmund Freud found that hysterical symptoms brought on even minor upsets or injuries could be traced back to traumas early in life for which the memory and associated affect had been repressed.”1

Diane

Child Abuse Survivors and the Justice System - Part 4

The Catholic Church works very hard to prevent lawsuits against perpetrators—even against those who are not Catholic. For an organization where documented proof has been substantiated of them protecting and hiding child molesters for over 50 years, why do they even have a voice at the table? Are serial child molesters’ opinions considered when developing legislation to protect victims? As someone once told me, “Money and power—that’s all it takes to silence victims.”

Diane

Child Abuse Survivors and the Justice System - Part 3

Most corporations and businesses are unsympathetic to the plight of adult survivors of child abuse and neglect. Unlike a physical disability where an employee will usually get an accommodation (e.g., someone needs brighter lights over their desk due to severe eye problems), a survivor who presents that they have a mental disability (e.g., a person diagnosed with PTSD) will most likely lose their job and their benefits. I know because that is exactly what happened to me.

Diane

Child Abuse Survivors and the Justice System - Part 2

As I said in my previous blog [Child Abuse Survivors and the Justice System - Part 1], everything is stacked against a survivor of child abuse who wants to seek justice. Survivors are invisible to most Americans, so much so that even when sensational media attention is focused on child abuse, adult survivors don’t even come up in the discussion.

Diane

Child Abuse Survivors and the Justice System - Part 1

Just as in the general population, there is a lot of misinformation and a general lack of knowledge about what is helpful for child abuse survivors who become involved in the justice system. I am providing information that I hope will be helpful for both survivors and the entire spectrum of those involved in prosecuting crimes against perpetrators. It is important that everyone from judges to law enforcement to victim advocates understand what a survivor is experiencing and how to best support his/her needs.

Diane

Incomplete Criminal Justice Reporting Of Child Abuse – Part 2

Another reporting tool by the Criminal Justice system is the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS).1 The NCVS is the primary source of information on the characteristics of criminal victimization and on the number and types of crimes not reported to law enforcement authorities. It provides the largest national forum for victims to describe the impact of crime and characteristics of violent offenders. And yet, there are discrepancies in this process as well.

Diane

Incomplete Criminal Justice Reporting Of Child Abuse – Part 1

If you want to tackle a problem as great as child abuse, you at least need to design your reporting systems to capture the data as accurately as possible. The Criminal Justice system in America does not do that. The more survivors understand the issues impacting them, the more informed everyone will be as a community/nation.