Victims of sexual assault in Florida are more numerous than most people would believe. Each year, more than 200,000 people are victims of sexual assault in the United States, and in Florida alone a sexual assault is reported to police every 42 minutes, according to the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence. As many as one of every eight adult women has been a victim of rape. The effects of rape and sexual assault are serious and long-lasting. As many as 20% of teen pregnancies are the result of rape, and in the months and even years following the incident, victims may suffer from eating disorders, depression, STDs, sleep disorders, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts, and even post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD).
Unfortunately, sexual assault is one of the most underreported crimes, possibly because most rapes are committed by someone known to the victim. The FCASV notes that “more than half of the rapes/sexual assaults committed by strangers are reported to police while only 34.4 percent of those committed by non-strangers are reported.” Sexual assault victims may be afraid to report the attack because it has been committed by someone known to them, feeling that that somehow makes it a lesser crime, or because they are afraid that the perpetrator will retaliate against them if they make a police report.
Raising awareness of victim’s rights is important, so that assailants are held accountable, punished, and removed from the community, preventing future offenses. In Florida, sexual assault is classified as a felony. A person who commits sexual assault can be sentenced to a fine, imprisonment, or both, depending on a number of factors that are considered during a trial. The age of both the victim and assailant are taken into account, as well as the type of force that was used, whether a gun or other weapon was used, type and severity of injuries to the victim, or any other mitigating or aggravating factors, according to FCASV Sexual Violence Benchbook. Terms of imprisonment for sexual assault in Florida can range from 10 years to life in prison, and inmates must serve a minimum of 85% of their sentence, including time served in county jail.
Victims of sexual assault deserve support and respect, and are also entitled to be informed before their attacker is released from prison. Victims can register with the Florida Department of Corrections to receive notification automatically when an inmate is released, transferred, escapes, or dies. Victims may also be entitled to punitive damages, payment for medical expenses (including physical disability, disfigurement, or psychological treatment), and compensation for lost wages.
The assistance of an experienced attorney is vital to assure that victims of sexual assault receive the defense and compensation they deserve. The details of a sexual assault case can be complex and should be handled with confidentiality and diplomacy. The sexual assault attorneys in the Clearwater office of Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA will work tirelessly to assure that assailants are brought to justice and victims properly compensated for their physical and emotional distress. If you or someone you love has been the victim of a sexual assault, please contact Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA at 727-451-6900. We will schedule a free consultation with you, and you can rest assured that confidentiality is our highest priority.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765