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How child sex abuse impacts a survivor’s financial future

On Behalf of | Dec 4, 2019 | Sexual Abuse

Photo of Christopher Seleski

The long-term impacts of child sex abuse are well-documented. A survivor often deals with the repercussions the rest of their life, working to overcome mental and physical health conditions on their road to recovery.

Less talked about are the financial ramifications of child sex abuse. One study, however, begins to shed some light on how survivors may face significant financial burdens due to their trauma.

The financial cost of surviving abuse

A study titled “The economic burden of child sexual abuse in the United States” attempted to quantify the financial impact of child sex abuse. As NPR reported, one of the study’s lead authors compared it to calculating the long-term cost of an injury or illness. To do this, the researchers accounted for things such as:

  • Medical care costs
  • The impact on a person’s quality of life
  • Loss of potential earnings

For example, a survivor that develops depression or anxiety as a result of the abuse may struggle at work. This, in turn, has a negative impact on their career – resulting in lower earnings.

All told, the study estimated the lifetime cost of child sexual abuse may average more than $300,000 per survivor.

An opportunity to find closure

Every survivor has the right to heal in their own way and on their own timeline. For those at a point where they are considering legal action, there are options.

New York’s Child Victims Act gives anyone who was abused by an authority figure as a minor additional time to file a civil lawsuit seeking damages. Previously, survivors had only a few years from after the time they turned 18 to file a lawsuit. Now they have until they are 55 years old to bring a claim.

In addition, any adult that previously missed their deadline under the old statute of limitations has until August of 2020 to bring legal action. That means an adult that survived child sex abuse has an opportunity to file a civil lawsuit against their abuser or an accountable third party no matter how old they are and no matter when the abuse took place.

Legal action may not be the right choice for everyone. But for some survivors, it can bring a sense of justice while helping to ensure the perpetrator is held accountable.


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