Visitor Question

Can I get help suing for past abuse?

Submitted By: Dustin (Delmar, De)

Is there a way I can get free help concerning being physically and emotionally abused as a child? I’m now 25 years old and my abuser is taking me to court for harassment.

When I was 7 or 8 years old I moved in with my aunt and stayed under her care for about 5 years. While in her care she broke my nose, busted my mouth, blackened my eyes, and chained me to a table at night with a chain and padlock that was bolted to a wall EVERY NIGHT, while I slept in a recliner chair.

I was beaten with extension cords so bad I had welts on my bottom for weeks, so bad that my underwear were permanently stained with blood. There is so much more that I could tell you about what happened but it’s just too much to type right now.

Once the state found out I was placed in foster care. Now that I’m an adult (25 years old) I finally had the courage to call her, knowing that she can no longer hurt me, so I could confront her about the abuse. She ended up calling the police and pressed charges against me for harassment.

What can I do as far as getting my files from the state of Delaware foster care system, and how can I go about suing her for physical abuse and psychological abuse? I’m tired of her running my life and thinking she owns me and can treat me any way she feels. I need some help. What can I do? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Dustin,

In Delaware the statute of limitations for physical abuse to a minor is “tolled” or frozen until two years after the minor reaches the age of eighteen. Once a minor reaches the age of 18, he or she has two years to file a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator of the assault.

In your case, the statute of limitations expired when you reached the age of twenty.

There is however no statute of limitations for child sexual abuse. If the abuse included sexual abuse you have grounds for filing a civil action against the perpetrator.

Delaware Code Section 8145 address civil lawsuits brought by individuals for sexual abuse of a minor.

Also read State of Delaware Title 16 Chapter 9 – Abuse of children.

And here’s more information from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

You can request a copy of the records related to your foster care by going to the State of Delaware Official website Request Public Record (FOIA).

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: August 28, 2015

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