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California College Sexual Abuse Lawyers

Sexual harassment and sexual assault are problems at college campuses in California. Sadly, many of these instances go unreported because victims fear reprisal or don’t believe anything will happen. In other situations, students do come forward, and the school either doesn’t investigate or tries to cover it up. 

You have rights if you’re the victim of sexual abuse at a California college campus. Contact the California college sexual abuse attorneys at Silva Injury Law to learn more.

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Forms of College Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse can take multiple forms on college campuses in California. Here is a look at some of the more common types of sexual abuse affecting students.

Sexual Violence

Sexual violence includes attempted or completed rape, sexual coercion, sexual battery, and sexual assault, or any sexual act that is against the victim’s will. It can also include situations where the victim cannot consent to sexual acts because of drugs or alcohol. The inability to consent also applies to victims with mental, physical, or intellectual disabilities. Sexual violence can occur on and off campus. Some of the most common places off-campus include fraternities or sororities, college parties, and bars, which many students frequent.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment uses verbal or physical threats based on a person’s sexuality. It is unwanted and unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that interferes with the victim’s equal education. It can include stalking and physical gestures. Examples of sexual harassment include:

  • Sending or showing sexually graphic photos or videos;
  • Unwanted sexual jokes and comments;
  • Pulling at someone’s bra strap or underwear;
  • Starting sexual rumors about the victim; and
  • Unwanted sexual advances or touching.

Sexual harassment is a growing problem across college campuses. Some of the harassment comes from fellow students, but it can also be teachers or other college faculty members. Kids have a right to feel safe on their college campus, which is why you need to report any sexual harassment right away.

Sexual Bullying

Someone who sexually bullies another person can use both physical and non-physical actions. The aggressor might refer to someone’s gender or sexuality degradingly. They might try to get someone to act in a certain sexual way.

Title IX and Sexual Assault on California College Campuses

Title IX is a federal civil rights amendment. It prohibits discrimination based on sex in educational activities and programs. Discrimination based on sex can include sexual harassment or violent sexual acts such as rape and sexual battery. Title IX applies to schools that receive federal funding, such as colleges and universities.

Colleges must promptly respond when there’s an allegation of sexual violence or sexual harassment. If the school knows about an alleged incident that creates a hostile environment, it must take immediate action to eliminate any sexual violence or harassment, prevent it from happening again, and address its effects. Even if a student or parent doesn’t want to file a complaint or for the school to take any action, the school must still investigate the incident and take appropriate steps.

If you or someone you love suffered sexual assault or harassment on campus, speak with our California college sexual assault lawyers right away. Let us review your situation and determine whether you have grounds to bring a lawsuit for a Title IX violation.

Who Is Liable for California College Sexual Abuse?

Colleges are responsible for keeping their students safe and free from sexual assault, harassment, and bullying. Holding the individual perpetrator accountable is crucial, whether it’s another student or a school employee in a position of power. Potentially liable parties could include:

  • Professors,
  • Administrators,
  • Coaches,
  • Volunteers, and
  • Counselors.

Sadly, some colleges try to cover up sexual assault and protect their staff members rather than the students. That’s why you need to hire experienced California college sexual assault attorneys to help you expose the perpetrators and any accompanying coverup by the college.

Why File a Civil Claim for College Sexual Abuse?

You might wonder what the point of filing a civil claim is if you report the rape or assault and the police are investigating. Even if the victim comes forward, there’s no guarantee the police will process the rape kit or even speak to the suspect. To prevail in a criminal trial, the prosecution must prove sexual abuse beyond a reasonable doubt. This burden of proof can be challenging to meet since many attacks occur behind closed doors with no witnesses.

While filing a civil claim won’t result in jail time, it can help shine a spotlight on the continued issues of sexual abuse at California college campuses. With a civil suit, the victim can receive compensation for their damages. Recoverable compensation in a college sexual abuse case might include the following:

  • The victim’s medical expenses to date and future expected medical costs;
  • Lost wages if the victim worked a part-time job in addition to their classes; and
  • Pain and suffering, including emotional trauma, PTSD, scarring, fear, anxiety, depression, etc.

College sexual abuse cases can also include an award for punitive damages. Punitive damages exist to punish the defendants for their actions. Courts might award them in cases involving intentional acts, such as sexual abuse. If the college is hit with a punitive damages award, the hope is they will start taking reports of sexual violence more seriously.

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Promoting Healing Through Compassionate Advocacy

We believe that our duty goes beyond achieving large monetary awards for our clients. We strive first to be decent human beings who seek not to stir up fights, but to solve problems.

As a peacemaker, the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be enough business.

- Abraham Lincoln

Choose Silva Injury Law as Your California College Sexual Abuse Attorneys

If you are looking to hire a lawyer to represent you or a family member for college sexual abuse, Silva Injury Law stands ready to help. Our legal team has the skills and experience to help you hold these schools and offenders responsible. Attorney Michael Joe Silva spent part of his career as a criminal prosecutor in Merced County. He knows what it takes to meet the burden of proof in a criminal trial and applies that knowledge and experience to all his civil cases. When you hire Silva Injury Law, rest assured you’re working with one of the best California college sexual abuse lawyers.

We are passionate about getting justice for survivors of sexual abuse. When you need compassionate and professional legal representation, Silva Injury Law will be there every step of the way. We will prepare your case as though it’s going to trial, and we aren’t afraid to stand up to well-known institutions and corporations. To learn more about how we can help you in pursuing a college sexual abuse lawsuit, contact our office to schedule an initial consultation.

Our highly-skilled legal team also handles other cases, such as: