Brave Sexual Abuse Victims are Coming Forward and Making a Difference

With its narrow focus on catching and punishing offenders, the criminal justice system too often leaves crime victims feeling forgotten, and in many cases victimized all over again. That’s especially true for victims of child sexual abuse, many of whom endure years of torment before bravely coming forward.

During National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, we recognize the key role that our civil justice system plays in helping these individuals. Unlike the criminal courts, civil litigation focuses squarely on helping victims obtain justice and holding responsible parties accountable.

It’s an honor to help victims achieve a measure of justice through monetary damages and awards against perpetrators and parties that too often turn a blind eye to their responsibility to protect individuals in their care.



We can help.

Holding institutions accountable for sex abuse

Research shows that the public is increasingly demanding that schools and other institutions do more to protect individuals and prevent sexual abuse. According to a recent report by United Educators, monetary verdicts and settlements larger than $1 million against schools jumped more than 80 percent between 2021 and 2022.

In 2022, there were 69 awards or settlements larger than $1 million by K-12 schools and colleges, compared to 38 the previous year, according to the report. The majority of those awards were related to sex abuse claims. The number of awards and settlements greater than $250,000 also increased dramatically, from 19 in 2015 to 107 in 2022.

Writes Education Week: The increase highlights a number of different trends, including a growing tendency by sexual abuse victims to hold institutions accountable for how they address abuse and state law changes that allow more abuse victims to sue. In addition, a greater mistrust of educational institutions has helped spur more lawsuits and larger jury awards.

Verdicts and settlements in sex abuse litigation in 2022 included:

  • A $10 million settlement by the state of Hawai‘i to a former high school student with developmental disabilities. In that case, school employees were aware of the abuse but failed to protect the student, according to the lawsuit.
  • Galiher DeRobertis & Waxman obtained a $5.63 million settlement on behalf of a Hawai‘i student who was sexually assaulted by a teacher. The outcome was recognized among the top sex abuse settlements of 2022.
  • School districts in California — including Union School District, Los Angeles Unified School District, Riverside Unified School District, and Pasadena Unified School District, all in California — were ordered to pay damages stemming from civil lawsuits claiming that administrators and employees failed to protect students from abuse.

Writes Education Week: There also seems to be an increase in general mistrust of education organizations, and juries seem more likely now than in decades past to scrutinize whether schools “did everything possible” to protect students’ and staff members’ safety, he said.

“Where you would go back 20 years ago, there may have been more deference to the decisions that were being made at educational institutions, and today [juries] are really questioning that you’re really doing all that you can in the name of safety,” said United Educators vice president Bryan Elie.

How We Help Sex Abuse Victims 

Our Hawai‘i sexual abuse lawyers work one-on-one with survivors, offering a direct, personal level of care and discretion. We use our decades of experience battling big organizations to fight on behalf of survivors, aggressively taking on those responsible for the pain and suffering they’ve caused. Our results obtaining justice for victims speak for themselves. If you are a survivor of childhood or adult sexual abuse, we can help.

Category: Child Sex Abuse


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We Can Help

We provide free initial consultations. If you believe you or a loved one has a claim or a potential lawsuit, we are willing to meet with you to evaluate your claim with no obligation on your part. To learn more about your legal rights and options, please contact us to receive a free initial consultation.

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