The average amount paid out in sexual assault settlements and verdicts is increasing dramatically, a study shows.
Between 2017 and 2022, the average payout in 176 cases involving payouts of at least $1 million was $43.9 million, according to an analysis published Tuesday by Arlington, Texas-based Praesidium Inc., which specializes in sexual assault prevention in organizations serving youth and vulnerable adults.
This compares with an average of $11.2 million for the period 2012-2016, reflecting data from 109 cases, according to the analysis.
The study found that in more than a third of sexual assault cases there was an indication that the perpetrator had previously assaulted someone prior to the reported incident, or that the organization was aware of previous concerns, although the actual number of such incidents was at a previously low level of concern is “probably much higher”;.
“The majority of cases of abuse occurred after warning signs were missed or ignored,” it said.
It said organizations and their employees may not respond to allegations of abuse, or minimize red-flag behaviour, because the perpetrators often manage their communities and other adults; organizations fear negative effects on their organization; and the organizations and employees lack awareness or training about red flag behavior or how to respond.