It is common for survivors of sexual assault or abuse to feel shame and guilt, even though they are blameless. Sexual abuse leaves emotional trauma and sometimes even physical injuries that affect victims for their whole lives. It is important that victims seek support and receive the justice they deserve.
The perpetrator does not need to have been prosecuted for you to claim compensation. Victims are often more likely to succeed in a civil court and hold the offender liable for damages than they are to succeed in a criminal conviction. This is because a criminal conviction requires more substantial evidence. However, an attorney will be able to assess your case and help you to decide which route to take.
At The Law Place, we have over 75 years of combined experience defending clients in Florida. If you have suffered sexual abuse, then we want to help you receive justice. That means punishing the perpetrator and obtaining compensation for your suffering. You need an experienced attorney that is sensitive to the personal nature of your case and who is willing to support you on your journey for justice – that’s where we come in.
Sexual Abuse – The Statistics
According to RAINN, a charity working to reduce sexual abuse and fight for justice when it does occur, sexual violence has halved in the last 20 years. That is a fantastic achievement, but there is still a long way to go, and sexual abuse remains far too common.
Every year, over 430,000 Americans are victims of sexual violence. Almost 60,000 of those are children, and more than 80,000 are prisoners. Additionally, one in six women will suffer a sexual assault at some point in their life.
These statistics are shocking, yet in reality, the statistics are likely to be much more shocking as many crimes go unreported, especially crimes committed against men.
The statistics in the State of Florida are also concerning. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, of sexual offenses that have been reported:
- 1,266,000 women have suffered rape in Florida. That’s 17%.
- 1,437,000 men, or 20.4% of men, have reported being the victim of sexual violence.
- 3,111,000, or 41.8% of women, have suffered sexual violence that did not involve rape.
Types of Sex Offenses in North Port, FL.
The American Psychological Association gives us a definition of sexual abuse:
“Unwanted sexual activity, with perpetrators using force, making threats, or taking advantage of victims not able to give consent.”
- Sexual battery/rape – As outlined in Florida Statute 794.011, rape is defined as vaginal, anal, or oral penetration with a sexual organ, body part, or object without lawful consent.
- Statutory rape – As outlined in Florida Statute 800.04, statutory rape is similar to sexual battery, but the victim is between the ages of 12 and 16. Lawfully, they are unable to give consent.
- Molestation/groping – Where the victim is touched or fondled in a sexual way, without consent.
- Indecent exposure of sexual organs – As outlined in Florida Statute 800.03, it is unlawful to expose sexual organs to a victim.
- Masturbation – Masturbating, or performing any unwanted sexual act while someone else is present, is a crime, even when there was no sexual contact or exposure of sexual organs.
This list is not exhaustive. There are various forms of sexual offenses. If you have suffered a form of sexual abuse that is not listed above, then you should still contact The Law Place for a free consultation. We will answer any questions you have about the legal process.
Sexual Abuse Proceedings in North Port: Civil vs. Criminal
In a criminal case, the victim will need to testify, which involves describing what happened. This is often a traumatic experience, and the risk of a conviction may push the perpetrator to protest.
Unless the evidence is strong, it can be difficult to win a conviction. The prosecutor will need to prove that they committed the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. In order to be successful, the evidence will need to include medical records or witness statements, or testimony from law enforcement.
Furthermore, if a conviction is successful, while the perpetrator will be punished, little is done to compensate the victim for their suffering. If the defendant is convicted, they may receive fines, a jail sentence, probation, and they will be registered as a sex offender. But unfortunately, in order for you to claim compensation, you must fight your case in a civil court. This can be done as a stand-alone case or in addition to the criminal proceedings.
A civil case can be brought against the perpetrator as a stand-alone case or in addition to a criminal case. The civil case focuses on the victim’s suffering and financial losses, such as medical bills and loss of earnings. It is often easier to obtain damages from the perpetrator than to obtain a conviction.
Following sexual abuse, you deserve to be compensated for both your economic and non-economic damages. You may have missed work and received medical bills. In addition, you will likely have experienced mental anguish and loss of enjoyment in life. For example, perhaps you find it difficult to be intimate with people or have anxiety over going to particular places. You deserve to be compensated for both your economic and non-economic damages.
Nothing can erase a traumatic event from your memory, but financial compensation can help you to feel some sense of justice and will help you to move forward with your life by paying for things, such as allowing you to take some time away from work to recover.
In a civil case, the burden of proof is lower, so you may be successful in a civil case even if the perpetrator was not convicted. However, if they were convicted, then this will be a great piece of evidence for your civil case.
Our experienced sexual abuse lawyers will support you every step of the way, so you can focus on your recovery.
Any form of sexual abuse is extremely traumatic and can affect people for their whole lives. In addition to severe emotional trauma, which could lead to depression and anxiety, as well as Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), people can also be left with physical injuries, such as:
- Unwanted pregnancies.
- Abrasions or lacerations.
- Injuries from restraints used.
- Sexually-transmitted diseases.
- Injuries from the force used to perpetrate the assault.
This list is not exhaustive. If you have suffered any kind of abuse, regardless of whether you have physical injuries, then you should contact a personal injury lawyer from The Law Place today.
Losses as a Result of Sexual Abuse in North Port, FL.
The aftermath of sexual abuse can exacerbate trauma that the victim is already suffering with. But you do not need to suffer in silence, contact us today and find out how we can help you fight for compensation in a personal injury claim.
We can help you claim compensation to pay for things such as:
- Physical pain and suffering.
- Emotional distress.
- Lost wages.
- Costs of pregnancy, childbirth, and adoption.
- Medical expenses for emergency treatment and ongoing treatment.
- Costs for terminating a pregnancy.
- Expenses for psychological or psychiatric treatment.
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
You can also claim punitive damages, which are designed to punish the perpetrator and are reserved for victims of acts that are clearly wrong – and sexual assault certainly qualifies.
Your sexual abuse lawyer will identify all possible damages so that they can help you fight for maximum compensation in North Port, FL.
Third-Party Claims in North Port, FL
Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may also be entitled to compensation from a third party in North Port.
For example, if the sexual abuse occurred in a school, hospital, hotel, or business that had a legal responsibility to prevent harm from coming to you, then you may be able to seek damages from that organization. Another example is if the incident occurred at work, then the employer may be liable if they failed to screen staff frequently.
Identifying any liable third parties can drastically increase the amount of compensation that you are able to claim in North Port. The perpetrator may not own sufficient assets to provide you with full compensation, especially if they are now convicted and unable to work. On the other hand, a company may have insurance coverage or assets.
Although money cannot take away your trauma, it will help ease the financial stress that may have been caused. It could also allow you to seek professional help for your emotional anguish. Furthermore, by holding the perpetrator accountable, you may feel that some sort of justice has been served, and you can have some much-needed closure.
Let a North Port Sexual Abuse Lawyer Fight for Your Legal Rights
If you have suffered sexual abuse in any form, then you should seek legal advice from a reputable law firm such as The Law Place.
At the very least, you can seek a free consultation with no strings attached. We will provide honest, unbiased advice on what we believe your next steps should be. We understand the sensitivity of these types of cases and will not put any expectations or pressure on you should you decide not to continue your claim. Our free consultation is designed so that anyone can receive legal advice before they make any decisions.
We will explain our fee structure. We work on a contingency basis, so our charge is taken as a percentage of your settlement. If your case is unsuccessful, then you will not pay a thing.
If you decide to continue, we will get you to sign on the dotted line, agreeing to representation. From this point onwards, we will take over the investigation and will act as your advocate so that you can focus on your recovery in the knowledge that everything is being handled for you.
Contact an Attorney at The Law Place Today!
Sexual abuse survivors should not suffer in silence; they deserve justice. Contact The Law Place today on (941) 444-4444 for a free consultation. Phone lines are open 24/7.