It’s hard enough for victims of childhood sexual abuse to relive painful memories from their past as news continues to break across the country about the Boy Scouts bankruptcy. It’s even harder for victims to take action.
For some, filing a claim is the first time they’ll ever talk about their experience(s) with another person. Meanwhile others are still wondering if it’s even worth it to file claims out of fear or privacy concerns.
However, with the bankruptcy deadline approaching in a little over a month, time is of the essence.
As advocates for victims of sexual abuse within scouting, we want to remind everyone that they have to file claims to receive compensation, but the process to do so doesn’t take as long as people would expect.
For more information about the timeline, plus steps you can take to streamline the process, continue reading below.
1. Consult a trusted attorney or social worker to determine the legal merit of your case.
While some victims may choose to fill out the proof of claims form on their own, a trusted attorney or social worker trained in abuse can help you determine the legal merit of your case, which ultimately speeds up the process. Part of this involves scheduling a consultation, so you can share your story.
A consultation takes an hour or less depending on what is prepared ahead of time. This may include compiling personal identification, as well as any information related to your abuse, such as the names of the sponsoring organizations and units. With this information, an attorney can gather facts about the abuser, including their position and title—among other details.
During the consultation, the attorney will ask a series of questions for you to answer based on the various sections of the form. The time it takes to get through each of these questions is dependent on what you can remember, but note it’s okay if you don’t know every detail about the abuse.
Because of the current pandemic, the consultation will be done over the phone or using a video conferencing software. This streamlines the claims process, as the claimant is not required to leave his or her house, and meetings can take place at the time most convenient to them.
2. Fill out the proof of claims form and file it with the correct parties.
Following the consultation, the attorney will help you fill out the proof of claims form. This is the formal document all victims must submit, detailing key information about their abuse.
This process may take shorter or longer for some victims. For instance, some victims may have previously filed a proof of claims form before the bankruptcy hearing. In this case, the attorney will want to recover that report, and make note of it in the newly issued claim. Other victims may have had more than one abuser, which they’ll want to detail thoroughly in the claim before submitting.
All claims are due before the November 16, 2020 deadline, so your attorney will work with you to fill out the form before then. From there, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware will decide the legitimacy of claims and award specific amounts of money to victims.
It could take the Bankruptcy Court several months to a few years to reach a decision regarding claims. We encourage victims to remain patient during this time, as the process will be worth it in the end.
Let Us Help You File a Claim Against the Boy Scouts of America
We understand taking action isn’t easy, but the sooner you can come forward, the better. We have represented more than 1,400 former Boy Scouts who are victims of sexual abuse.
Contact us today. Your consultation is absolutely free. It’s only after we secure a settlement for you that we receive any form of compensation.