Many parents rely on after-school programs for childcare in the hours before they finish work. In addition to providing affordable childcare during the week, after-school programs enrich the lives of children of all ages.
Unfortunately, children in after-school programs have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of those responsible for overseeing the programs, as well as employees and volunteers involved in the programs. If you or someone you know was the victim of sexual abuse that took place in an after-school program, Estey & Bomberger may be able to help.
After School Activities
There are many types of after-school activities. Some are school-sponsored and held on school grounds, while others are run by independent non-profit organizations or corporate entities. After-school programs focus on a variety of activities, including:
- Sports, such as soccer, baseball, softball, lacrosse, field hockey, tennis, football, swimming, and cheerleading
- Performing arts, such as dance, drama, choir, band, ballet, and tap dancing
- Creative arts, such as painting, drawing, photography, pottery, and crafts
- Academic enrichment, such as test preparation, tutoring, and reading groups
- Scouting organizations, such as Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, Campfire, and 4-H
- Financial literacy, such as Jump$tart and Junior Achievement
- Extracurricular clubs and activities, such as DECA, Future Business Leaders of America, and Boys and Girls Club of America
If your child participates in any of these programs, you must be vigilant about the adults who come into contact with your child as a result. Do not be afraid to ask program managers for the names and contact information of adults involved in the program. You may want to consider dropping in to visit your child during the after-school program unannounced.
You should also talk to your child about safety, and remind him or her that adults are never allowed to touch children inappropriately.
Sexual Abuse in After School Programs
When children are supervised by adults other than their parents, the likelihood of sexual abuse occurring increases significantly. Adults who work in after-school program have access to children outside of regular school hours, which can mean that there are fewer adults around to prevent sexual abuse from taking place. Sadly, adults have taken advantage of these circumstances to perpetrate horrific crimes against children.
Do You Suspect Abuse?
If you suspect that your child may have been abused during an after-school program, take these steps to protect your child’s safety and his or her rights.
- CALL THE POLICE. If your child reveals that he or she was sexually abused during an after-school program, call the police right away. Do not contact program organizers directly. The police will handle the investigation into your child’s allegations.
- SUPPORT YOUR CHILD. Commend your child for coming forward and talking to you about the abuse. This can be very difficult for victims of sexual abuse, so be sure to support your child and let him or her know that you will do whatever it takes to keep him or her safe. Keep the lines of communication with your child open, and always maintain a non-judgmental tone when discussing the abuse.
- FIND ALTERNATE CARE. Do not send your child back to the after-school program where the abuse took place. Make alternate childcare arrangements.
- CALL A LAWYER. The police department and prosecutor’s office will handle the criminal case against your child’s abuser. You may be able to file a civil lawsuit for money damages against the school where the abuse took place or the organizers of the after-school program. You will need a lawyer to represent you and your child in this process.
We Represent Victims of Sexual Abuse That Occurred in After School Programs
Estey & Bomberger represents victims of sexual abuse in civil lawsuits for money damages against the institutions in which they were abused, such as schools, daycare facilities, and churches. If you, your child, or someone you know was the victim of sexual abuse that occurred in an after-school program, call the dedicated child sexual abuse lawyers at Estey & Bomberger to discuss your case. You can contact us online, or call (800) 925-0723 for a free and confidential consultation.