Unfortunately, sexual abuse occurs all too often in today’s society. In the wake of sexual abuse allegations, you might decide to pursue criminal charges against your assailant. Many victims struggle with the idea of confronting their attacker in open court or fear retaliation after reporting the identity of the perpetrator to law enforcement. Even if you decide to file charges against your attacker, that doesn’t necessarily mean he or she will receive a guilty verdict and face time behind bars. The outcome of criminal cases rest in the hands of the jury or the judge in the event the case goes all the way to trial.
However, many people don’t realize that other ways exist to hold the perpetrator accountable for their actions. One way involves bringing a sexual abuse civil lawsuit against the perpetrator for damages incurred as a result of the abuse.
If you or a loved one suffered from sexual abuse or harassment, contact one of our sexual abuse attorneys at Silva Injury Law to start your free consultation.
What Forms of Sexual Abuse Authorize a Civil Lawsuit?
When people discuss civil lawsuits surrounding sexual abuse allegations, most think about serious crimes like rape or attempted rape. However, many other sex crimes victims qualify to bring a civil lawsuit as well. The term “sexual abuse” covers crimes including:
- Attempted rape,
- Sexual assault,
- Sexual battery,
- Statutory rape,
- Sexual bullying, and
- Sexual harassment in the workplace.
Crimes like prostitution, human trafficking, and possession of child pornography can also give rise to a sexual assault civil lawsuit.
Who Can File a Sexual Abuse Civil Lawsuit?
Obviously, the victim of the sexual abuse can file a civil lawsuit against the attacker. However, California allows family members of the victim to sue for damages if they meet one of the following requirements:
- The sexual assault/abuse resulted in the victim’s death;
- The family member witnessed the assault/abuse; or
- The assault/abuse resulted in a loss of moral support, intimacy, or companionship to a spouse or domestic partner of the victim.
If the family member satisfies one or more of these requirements, he or she may bring a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator of the crime.
California’s Sexual Abuse Resources
If you or a loved one suffered or are suffering from sexual abuse, know that you’re not alone. Sexual abuse resources in California can help you escape your dangerous situation or obtain counseling for your trauma. Some of these resources include:
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) or visit thehotline.org.
- The National Teen Dating Helpline at 1-866-331-9474 or visit loveisrespect.org.
- National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or visit rainn.org.
- When Everyone Acts Violence Ends (W.E.A.V.E.) at 1-866-920-2952 or visit weaveinc.org.
- The California Victim Compensation Program at 1-800-777-9229 or visit victims.ca.gov/for-victims/.
Once you feel secure and safe, consider reaching out to a sexual abuse attorney to get your civil case started.
What Should I Do If I’m Sexually Assaulted?
We understand that the moments following a sexual assault are overwhelming and often devastating. Here are some steps you can take from the beginning to preserve valuable information about the incident and increase your chance of recovering civil damages.
Get Medical Attention
Even if you didn’t suffer any obvious injuries, you should seek medical attention immediately. A lot of times, the physical evidence of sexual abuse disappears quickly if steps aren’t taken to preserve it. Give the medical professional details about the attack, even if it feels uncomfortable. Medical professionals are trained to assist individuals dealing with sex crimes and can offer specialized treatment to preserve evidence of the attack.
Report the Abuse
We understand that reporting the sexual abuse might be the most difficult step you have to take. However, it’s crucial to document what happened. Try to provide as much information as you can remember. Additionally, you could receive guidance on California’s sexual abuse resources when you make the report.
Collect Evidence from the Attack
Even if you’re unable to report the abuse right away, keep any physical evidence you have that is relevant to the attack. This could include text messages, the clothing you were wearing, or statements from your attacker after the fact. Having this evidence can mean the difference between being able to prove your sexual abuse civil claim and having your case thrown out.
Contact a Sexual Abuse Attorney
Sexual abuse civil lawsuits can help you recover compensation for any suffering caused as a result of the sexual abuse you endured. However, you have to prove several factors and demonstrate the monetary value of the harm you suffered. Our sexual abuse attorneys at Silva Injury Law can help you file your claim and determine what damages you’re entitled to.
Victim of Sexual Assault or Abuse in California? Contact Silva Injury Law Today
Many victims of sexual assault or abuse feel like the incident was all their fault. At Silva Injury Law, we know that’s not the case. Your attacker bears total responsibility for the harm you endured, not you. We realize that many victims of sexual abuse suffer serious psychological trauma after their attack, and we are ready to provide whatever support you need. Our team of sexual abuse attorneys will aggressively pursue the party responsible for your sexual abuse so they pay for the suffering that you endured.
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. We know that winning a civil settlement won’t take away the pain and heartache you went through, but it can be a step in the right direction. At Silva Injury Law, our compassionate approach is what sets us apart. Contact our office today to find out for yourself.