Institutional Abuse Lawyers Calgary

Abuse claims are based on sexual or physical violence. When these acts are committed by organizations with authority over its members it may be institutional abuse. Organizations have an obligation to protect its members. Unless institutions have safeguards to select the right staff, policies on interactions between staff and members, supervise their team, and investigate claims, abuse will happen; worst still, abuse will spread. Anyone can be the victim of institutional abuse, regardless of gender, sexuality, or age. Institutional abuse is a widespread, pervasive, societal issue. An estimated 1.8 million Albertans– nearly one in two members of the local population – have been the victims of sexual violence in their lifetimes.

According to the Criminal Code of Canada, institutional abuse is an indictable offence. Those who are found guilty of committing this reprehensible crime could be subject to incarceration. After the crime has been reported to the police, the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service can pursue criminal charges against the perpetrator.

However, people who have survivors can also choose to pursue a civil claim against them and any other people or organizations whose negligent actions may have put them in harm’s way. By doing so, survivors of institutional abuse may be able to recover financial compensation for damages they have incurred as a result of the trauma they were forced to endure. If you or a loved one have have suffered from institutional abuse, contact our Calgary institutional abuse lawyers today for a free consultation.

An Overview of how Institutional Abuse happens

The perpetrators of institutional abuse exploit an imbalance of power between themselves and their targets. They use this power and trust to engage in non-consensual sexual activity. If a person abuses their position of power, takes advantage of a young or vulnerable person’s trust, or exploits someone else’s dependency upon them, they have committed institutional abuse.

Abusers often use threats, blackmail, emotionally manipulative tactics, intimidation, and violence to get what they want. Their targets are often children, teenagers, and members of vulnerable populations. Perpetrators often seek employment in occupations that will put them in close contact with potential victims, such as:

  • Teachers
  • Religious leaders
  • Sports coaches
  • Camp counselors
  • Scout leaders
  • Extracurricular programme guides
  • Psychiatric hospital staff
  • Correctional officers, guards at juvenile detention centres
  • Foster parents
  • Caregivers
  • And more

The Long-Lasting Impacts of Institutional abuse

Sometimes victims of abuse suffer at their hands of the perpetrator for brief moments, but the impact lasts their lifetimes. In particular, those who were subjected to abuse in childhood shapes they perspective of the world. When a child’s innocence is exploited, it is a normal reaction to mistrust others. Further, it is not uncommon for survivors to develop self-destructive coping mechanisms to deal with their traumatic experiences. Responses to abuse can include self-harm, unhealthy lifestyle choices, and a reliance on alcohol and/or other substances. In fact, institutional abuse survivors are 26 times more likely to develop substance use disorders. Finally, victims blame themselves leading to psychological problems caused by the abuse.

Perpetrators make their victims feel special and then after the abuse they often feel guilty about their acts. Children, who do not understand what has occurred, often internalize the guilt and shame of the perpetrator. This is horrendous. It means that victims often have:

  • Mistrust of people, especially those in authority
  • Confusion around a healthy relationship with sex
  • Develop anxiety
  • Develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Develop depression
  • Substance abuse issues

Survivors of institutional abuse may struggle with trust issues, making it difficult for them to form and maintain relationships with friends or romantic partners. Trust issues often cause trouble regarding employment.

Depending on when the abuse occurred, survivors may have found it impossible to continue on pursuing higher levels of education or vocational training. As a result of someone else’s criminal actions, survivors of institutional abuse could sustain a reduced future earning capacity, fail to reach their potential, and become ineligible for employment opportunities.

In addition to this loss of potential earnings, people who have been subjected to institutional abuse could incur substantial financial losses in relation to the trauma they have withstood. Survivors of institutional abuse often require ongoing, long-term psychological treatment, psychiatric care, prescriptions, addiction counselling, and other expenses. Many struggle to afford the costs of care required to truly reckon with the abuse to which they were subjected.

Who Is Liable in an Institutional Abuse Claim?

A person who has been sexually abused by an individual is entitled to hold them accountable for their actions. In many abuse claims, the individual perpetrator may not have sufficient personal funds to pay the settlement award they owe the survivor. However, in some cases, the institutions can be held responsible if the actions (or inactions) of others made it easier for the perpetrator to carry out abuse. By taking action against the organization, claimants in institutional abuse cases may be able to recover the compensation to which there are rightfully entitled.

Institutional abuse refers to incidents of institutional abuse that occur within the context of an organization that fails to protect targets from exploitation. Oftentimes, this includes a culture of secrecy that prioritizes the organizations or individual perpetrators’ reputations over the physical and emotional well-being of the young or vulnerable people it is meant to serve.

If an organization’s leadership was negligent in its duty to protect individuals from sexual exploitation, or if they failed to take appropriate action after receiving reports or complaints about abuse, their silence could have devastating consequences for countless others. By allowing an abuser to continue working in a consequence-free environment, the negligent organizations implicitly condone their criminal actions, exposing even more people to life-changing trauma. As such, organizations may be liable for damages arising from institutional abuse.

How can our Calgary institutional abuse lawyers help with getting compensation for your injuries

It is never too late to contact our Calgary institutional abuse lawyers to take advantage of a cost-free, no-obligation consultation. Even if your abuse occurred years in the past, our institutional abuse lawyers may be able to offer critical assistance in your pursuit of justice. By working with our lawyers, survivors throughout the province may be able to recover financial compensation for damages they have incurred as a result of their past trauma.

Our institutional abuse lawyers appreciate how much courage it can take to talk about past trauma. During a confidential, free initial consultation, you will have the chance to share as many details about your experience as you are comfortable with, and receive personalized, case-specific advice about options for legal actions that might be available to you. Contact us for legal help today.


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