If you have been sexually assaulted, it is not your fault. A Bronx sexual abuse lawyer can help you to get your life back. Many sexual abuse victims suffer in silence for years out of fear of stigmatization, humiliation, and uncertainties. Sexual assault, mistreatment, abuse, and molestation are traumatic and devastating events that you should not have to endure the consequences of alone.
Understanding Trauma and Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse involves inappropriate sexual misconduct, including fondling, touching of a sexual nature, oral sex, and penetration. As a victim of sexual abuse, you may have felt too afraid to say anything or object at the time. Below are some common forms of sexual abuse:
- Attempted rape
- Child molestation
- Forcible sodomy
Places Where Sexual Abuse Occurs
Sexual abuse can unfortunately happen anywhere, below are some common places where sexual abuse can occur:
- Public space
- Mass transportation
- Private residence
- Religious space
- Hospitals, health facilities, counselor's office, and emergency care
- Colleges, technical training schools, and universities
- School (Pre-school to 12th grade)
Potential Effects from Sexual Abuse
Although sexual abuse can happen to anyone of any age, gender, race, background, and ethnicity, it is most common among women and children. Victims of sexual abuse can show a wide range of emotional and behavioral reactions to their trauma and might choose silence for fear of continued abuse. Here are some potential long-term effects stemming from sexual abuse:
- Social isolation
- Sudden depression or anxiety
- Substance abuse
- Loss of appetite
- Self-harm or thoughts performing of self-harm
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Diagnosis of a sexually transmitted infection
- Gastrointestinal health problems
- Behavioral disorder
- Sexual issues
- Relationship and intimacy problems
Civil Action Compensation
As a victim of sexual abuse, you may have suffered the following injuries:
- Incised wounds
- Penetrating wounds and burns
You can file a lawsuit seeking monetary compensation in order to provide relief for:
- Therapy and counseling expenses
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
Filing for a sexual abuse lawsuit can be complex and challenging, but it can give you the support and resources you need to move forward with your life. A Bronx sexual abuse lawyer can assist you in putting together your case.
What to Do After Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse can cause a lot of physical and emotional trauma. Your friends and relatives may believe you are fine if you don't have any visible physical injuries, however, you may have psychological and internal injuries that others cannot see. After experiencing sexual abuse, it is important for your wellbeing to do the following:
- Call 911 or go to the nearest police station to report the assault and request for a criminal investigation to begin
- Get to a safe place such as a hospital, someone's residence, or a police station
- Contact a rape crisis program, counseling department, support group, a partner or guardian for support
- Get to a hospital immediately for a checkup
- If you are a student, report it to the school administration
- Talk to someone you trust
- File for civil protection against the sexual offender
Child Sexual Abuse Laws
The United States federal law states that offenders guilty of sexual abuse of a child are subject to facing fines and imprisonment. There are different penalties for child abuse perpetrators. Charging the sexual offender depends on the nature of the sexual abuse and the additional repercussions, including using threats, instilling body harm, and kidnapping. Here is a list of some of the important laws and regulations that were enacted to protect victims of sexual abuse:
- Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act: increases penalties for child abuse perpetrators by organizing the abusers in three tiers depending on the nature of the abuse.
- Kilah Davenport Act of 2013: requires the office of the U.S. attorney general to report prevention laws and state penalties for repeated sex offenders. The law also increases the punishment for repeat sex offenders who commit sexual abuse involving a child.
- Rape Survivor Child Custody Act: terminates the parental rights of men who father children through rape.
- Jacob Wetterling Crimes against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act (Wetterling Act): requires that states implement a sex offenders and crimes against children registry.
These laws and regulations were also enacted to protect survivors of sexual abuse:
- DNA sample requirement
- HIV/AIDS testing of sexual offenders
- Definitions of consent, sexual assault, and sexual abuse
- Mandatory reporting
- Confidentiality laws
- Limits on rapists' parental rights
Statutory Period for Filing Sexual Assault Case
The statute of limitations for sexual abuse cases refers to how long victims have to file a claim. In New York, you have two years for a misdemeanor and five years for a felony sexual assault. A Bronx sexual abuse lawyer understands the relevant child abuse laws and statute limitations and can determine your eligibility to file a lawsuit.
Civil Court vs. Criminal Court in Child Abuse Charges
As a child abuse victim, you have two options for seeking justice - criminal court or civil court.
- Criminal court - The government has the authority to handle a child abuse case or file charges against the defendant. When the defendant is guilty of child abuse, the punishments range from mandatory counseling to fines and imprisonment.
- Civil court - In a civil court case, you take the chance to court to seek compensation for physical damages, psychological damages, and other punitive damages that arise from the abuse.
Choose Dolman Law Group
If you experience any form of sexual abuse, you must find help and consult a sexual abuse lawyer right away. At the Dolman Law Group, our Bronx personal injury lawyers represent our clients with strict standards for your care and privacy while having the experience and resources to represent you. Our firm is ready and willing to help you with your sexual abuse case. Do not hesitate to reach out to the Dolman Law Group to schedule a free consultation today.
Bronx Office Location
3250 Westchester Ave, suite 200A/B
Bronx, NY 10461