What if the Victim is a Child?

Child victims present special problems. In New York, sexual contact of any kind with anyone under 17 is illegal. Images of children under 18 are considered child pornography and may also give rise to civil damages. Sexual abuse and exploitation have repeatedly been shown to be extraordinarily damaging to children. However, very young children frequently have difficulty remembering or articulating what happened to them. They may also fear their abuser or wish to protect him if he is a family member or authority figure. In addition, courts are very careful to ensure that any settlement made on behalf of a child is fair to the child.