Joelle Casteix (www.casteix.com) has spent the past ten years working with victims of child sex abuse and other crimes. In that work, she has collaborated with numerous plaintiffs’ attorneys nationwide and worked with the National Crime Victims’ Bar Association and legislators across the country to create victim-friendly laws and help victims get access to civil remedies. Being a victims’ attorney is a tough job, but by knowing how to act, who to partner with, and how to delicately navigate the civil system, we can do more to prevent further crime and help more victims get the accountability they deserve.
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- In 2003, the State of California opened a “civil window” that allowed adult victims of sexual abuse to file civil lawsuits. Those civil lawsuits allowed the victims to name their perpetrator and file lawsuits against the organizations that employed that perpetrator and may have covered up for him.
- Joelle was one of approximately 1,000 individuals across the State that filed such a suit. Over the two year litigation process she became a very vocal advocate for herself and other victims.
- In the end Joelle not only recieved her settlement, but received over 200 pages of secret documents that outlined the fact that the school where she had been abused knew about the abuse and covered it up.
- Joelle has turned advocacy into a full time job, and travels the world speaking out on behalf of victims and helping to create victim friendly legistlation.
- Joelle acknowledges the risk taken and courage provided by civil plaintiff’s attorneys in these sexual abuse cases.
- If not for the bravery of these attorneys the victims would not have received any form of justice.
- Working together with these attorneys we can create great things such as victim friendly legislation, and help fight crime on the civil side.
- Joelle states that the very first person who told her the abuse she suffered was not her fault, and that it was a crime, was her plaintiff’s attorney.
- Joelle had a background in public speaking and media presentation which made her uniquely qualified to be an outspoken advocate.
- Fortunately she had come a long way in her healing, and did not risk retraumatization by coming forward and speaking about her abuse.
- When large numbers of documents come to light implicating an institution such as a church or school it is most impactful if the vicitms are the people who bring them forward.
- Joelle often affiliates with SNAP – the Survivor’s Network of Those Abused by Priests, however the group has expanded to any victims.
- She also affiliates with the National Crime Victims’ Bar Association.
Listen to Learn…
- What motivated Joelle to seek out an attorney?
- Why did she become a vocal advocate?
- How is preventing child sexual abuse easy?
- What’s next for her?
Blog and Book
Joelle Casteix’ book “The Well-Armored Child: A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Abuse” is coming out next year! It’s an easy to ready, age-specific, tool kit to help parents keep their kids safe. Joelle’s goal is to make sure what happened to her does not happen to our kids.
Check out Joelle’s blog “The Worthy Adversary.”
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Miranda McCroskey – host of Lawpreneur Radio