What is a Legal Consultation for Sexual Abuse Like?

Our legal consultations are free and confidential. A legal consultation involves a trauma-informed member of our team gaining insight and gathering information about your potential case by asking you questions. Some questions asked may be about the circumstances surrounding the sexual abuse, and some questions are background questions about a survivor’s life. Often, a legal consultation may be the first time that a survivor of sexual abuse has ever disclosed the abuse to anyone. Our team members are aware of this and we try to work with each survivor at a pace they are comfortable with. Additionally, we will provide opportunities to finish the conversation another time, if the survivor becomes overwhelmed or distressed. During the consultation, the survivor is able to ask any questions they have at any time. We will do our best to provide answers so the survivor feels more confident and empowered in the process.

Who Will Answer the Phone When I Call for the First Time?

Jeff Anderson & Associates has a dedicated team of experienced advocates who answer our phones every day. They will listen to you and will find the appropriate attorney or advocate at our firm who can help answer any questions you may have.

Do I Have to Go into Every Detail? Do I Need to Bring Corroborating Materials?

When you call Jeff Anderson & Associates, we will ask you questions about what happened to you to establish whether or not we can help you bring a legal claim. During the initial conversation, we will not ask you every detail about the sexual abuse you experienced, but we will need to ask some questions about what happened in order to determine whether we can represent you.

The Sexual Abuse Happened a Very Long Time Ago. I Don’t Remember Everything That Happened. Is That Okay?

It often takes survivors of child sexual abuse decades to come forward and report what happened.

It does not matter how long ago the abuse happened — the abuse was a crime and was not your fault.

In fact, retroactive civil windows are created by lawmakers to help victims (whose abuse happened a long time ago) seek justice and be able to make a difference in stopping the cycle of abuse by coming forward. It is okay if you do not remember every detail about what happened, as most survivors do not.

When you speak with an attorney or a trauma-informed team member, tell them what you do know and remember. That is all that matters. Our trauma-informed staff knows how to work with survivors in a compassionate and empathetic manner that creates an environment where survivors feel comfortable and safe sharing details about what happened to them.

In our decades of practice helping survivors of child sexual abuse, our attorneys or advocates understand that memories can be fragmentary. Even fragmentary memories can help us understand where to look for evidence of wrongdoings and cover-ups.

Please contact us for a free confidential discussion. We believe you, and we are listening.

The Person I First Talked to is a Paralegal/Advocate. Are they Bound by the Attorney/Client Privilege?

Although the attorney-client privilege attaches only to lawyers, your communication with anyone at our firm is confidential. The American Bar Association Model Rule of Professional Conduct 5.3 requires that paralegals and other law firm employees protect the rights held by a firm’s client, including the right to confidential communications with their attorney.

Additionally, anyone you speak to on our team has been trained to do the following:

  1. Communicate through the lens of trauma-informed training. This provides a more compassionate experience for the survivor.
  2. Keep any information a survivor shares confidential.

Our number one priority is the well-being of survivors; this includes respecting and maintaining their privacy and anonymity.

Can I Have Someone Else on the Phone or in the Meeting with Me?

Yes. You can have a support person with you during any of the meetings or calls with our firm. Please understand there are also confidentiality issues and attorney/client privilege issues that may go along with this scenario. In order to understand what this means, please contact us for an individual case consultation and we can explain further so you are fully informed before making this decision.

Can I Request to Speak to a Woman or a Man?

Absolutely. It is very common for survivors to feel more comfortable speaking with members of a particular sex, and we want you to honor that reality.

Please contact us for a free confidential discussion. We believe you. And we are listening.

How Long Will the First Consultation Last?

This depends. Generally, a first confidential consultation will range from 10 to 30 minutes, with some lasting longer. During your first confidential call we will gather information that will allow us to determine whether we can bring a claim on your behalf. This includes asking you to disclose as much information as you are comfortable sharing about the abuse, and some basic background information about you that may affect our ability to help you. In some cases, we will know immediately that we are not able to take your case due to legal or other factors. It is important to know that because of legal and other factors, we are not able to take every case. This decision is never made lightly, and is never meant as a reflection on the survivor.

Do I Have to Make a Decision Right Then? Will I Have Time to Think About It?

Because there are deadlines, or Statutes of Limitation, that likely apply to any potential claim or lawsuit you may have, it’s possible that we will need to get a decision from you right away. There are many things that need to take place from a preparation standpoint before we are able to file a lawsuit on your behalf, and because of these preparations, we need as much time as possible to ensure we have taken all the proper steps before filing.

However, it’s important to note that any time we are able to give a survivor time to process their options, we will do so. We always make sure to clearly lay out a survivor’s options (and the deadlines) so they are empowered to make a decision that feels right for them.

How Many People Will I Have to Talk to at the Lawyer’s Office?

We have a large team of lawyers, paralegals, advocates, legal support specialists, and law clerks all dedicated to working for you and getting your case across the finish line. Each of our team members will play a specific role related to your potential case. While we try our best to limit the number of team members you will need to speak with throughout the course of your case, there will likely be multiple team members you will speak with at different points in your case. If the number of people you will speak to is a concern for you, please mention it to us right away. We can make note of this, and will do our best to limit the number of people that are in contact with you. It’s also worth mentioning that every team member you speak with is trauma-informed and will maintain your privacy and anonymity.

The More I Talk About the Sexual Abuse, the More the Memories are Coming Back. Is That Normal?

Yes. It is very normal.

The human brain is a very complicated organ. The latest scientific research is showing us how a child’s brain reacts to trauma, and how triggers such as smells, conversations, photographs, music, specific places, and encounters with others can cause memories to start flooding back later in life. As your healing journey continues, stay in contact with your attorney to inform them of new information as it becomes available. We often recommend speaking with a therapist or mental health professional about this, as they will have professional insights and camping mechanisms that may help you navigate those experiences.

In our decades of practice helping survivors of child sexual abuse, our attorneys or advocates understand that memories can be fragmentary. Even fragmentary memories can help us understand where to look for evidence of wrongdoings and cover-ups.

If you were sexually abused by a priest, counselor, teacher, coach, or other trusted adult, you still have rights. We want to help you. Contact us confidentially today

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