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- If you have been a victim of abuse, there are several things you need to do BEFORE you report the abuse to your archdiocese. Call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673. It is free, 100% confidential and available 24/7. Their website can be found here: https://www.rainn.org/get-help. Additionally, many counties have local sexual assault help centers available that are also free, 100% confidential and available 24/7. Please call them, you may not realize it now, but it will be the first step toward your healing.
- Report the incident to the local police department and have them fill out a report.
- Hire an attorney specializing in sexual assault. Your case will likely be taken on contingency. This allows people to hire a lawyer without having to pay any money in advance. That’s right, a contingent fee means no retainer or costs have to be paid in advance before a qualified attorney can begin to work on your case. They get paid a percentage of your settlement after your case is finalized.
- You may even want to alert your State’s attorney to the abuse, as many states are now pursuing legal action against the Church due the Church’s negligence and deliberate coverup of these crimes.
- Only AFTER these steps are taken should you go to the archdiocese. In many cases, the offending parties have been able to coverup their abuses as they have offered settlements to victims contingent on no further disclosure to any other parties. If you hire an attorney, prior to this and report to law enforcement, you will still be able to file a lawsuit, and not aid in the Church’s desire to coverup the abuse.