SEXUAL ABUSE & ASSAULT
Civil claims involving sexual violence are about much more than monetary compensation. They are often the only way for victims to hold the perpetrator accountable, achieve some measure of closure and help prevent similar things from happening to someone else. If you or a loved one were a victim on sexual violence or assault in New York, Oliveri & Schwartz can help.
Our sexual assault attorneys are trauma informed advocates and have significant experience in representing victims of sexual assault and other forms of sexual violence. We want victims of sexual assault and their loved ones to know their legal options after sexual assault incidents.
Victims may be eligible for compensation for :
Medical expenses. The victim can sue for the cost of necessary medical treatment resulting from the sexual assault. This may also apply to the cost of necessary ongoing psychological counseling or other forms of treatment.
Lost income. If a sexual assault incident prevents a victim from working for an extended time or caused the victim to leave a job, the victim can sue for the wages lost as a result.
Pain and suffering. New York law recognizes the experience of sexual assault is traumatic and often leads to long-term psychological difficulties. The law allows victims to sue for their mental anguish, physical pain, and emotional distress.
Punitive damages. The court will often dictate punitive damages for offenders who engage in intentionally harmful or egregiously negligent behaviors to dissuade similar behaviors in the future. The amount of punitive damages recoverable typically depends on the offender’s financial state.
Civil cases generally require victims of sexual abuse to file a claim within two years of the alleged incident ( much longer if the sexual abuse involves a minor). It is incredibly important for victims to preserve their rights and file a claim before the statute of limitations expires – failure to do so may bar you from pursuing a claim.
TYPES OF SEXUAL ASSAULT
Sexual assault is a type of sexual violence that affects unfortunately affects thousands of men (yes men), women and children each year.
Under New York Law, sexual assault typically refers to any sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the victims consent. This includes instances when a victim is physically unable to consent, in cases of intoxication, unconsciousness, or physical disability for example.
Sexual assault includes:
-Rape and attempted rape
-Forced sexual acts of any nature
-Grouping and unwanted touching,
-Any unwanted penetration of the victim
In the case of forced assault, force is not limited physical pressure. Emotional coercion, manipulation, intimidation or other psychological force may also be used.
WARNING SIGNS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT
It’s crucial to know how to spot the signs of sexual assault or abuse, particularly among your loved ones. A sudden change in behavior or inexplicable injuries and medical symptoms could indicate the individual has experienced some type of sexual assault but does not feel comfortable speaking up about it.
It’s very common for sexual abusers to use intimidation or threats to prevent their victims from speaking out, and this can create a prison of fear for victims.
There are also warning signs you should keep in mind to protect yourself and others from potential sexual assault:
-Individuals who intend to commit sexual assault typically try to lull their victim into a false sense of security before making a move, or they may use flattery and attention to get the victim to lower his or her guard.
-Some offenders use alcohol or other substances to reduce resistance from their victims. An individual who appears focused on getting another person intoxicated may intend to do harm.
-Offenders will often attempt to isolate their victims, both for spontaneous attacks and as part of long-term abusive relationships. For example, a sexual assaulter may try to lure a victim away from a party or social gathering to commit a sexually abusive act, or an abuser may systematically remove his or her victim’s support system over time.
-Offenders often rely on manipulation and confusion to shift responsibility onto the victim after a sexual assault. This typically involves compelling the victim to believe it was a consensual act.
WHAT TO DO AFTER A SEXUAL ASSAULT
Victims may wonder what to do after experiencing a sexual assault, and one of the most important things one can do in this situation is to report it immediately. Some victims may feel scared to speak up about their experiences out of fear of retaliation, while others may simply believe they can forget about the incident and move on.
These are dangerous lines of thinking, and although it may be extremely difficult for a victim to speak up about a sexual crime, doing so will increase the chances of the offender facing prosecution and conviction. Additionally, speaking up about sexual assault to the authorities as soon as it happens reduces the chances of the offender victimizing others in the future.
Time is also a critical factor when it comes to preserving evidence. Biological evidence gathering from the victim’s body, clothing, and personal belongings as well as from the scene of the incident can hasten an investigation and help bring the offender to justice.
Victims of sexual assault should seek assistance from the police as soon as possible to start an investigation with the best chances of success. After reporting a sexual assault to the police and receiving medical treatment, the next step should be contacting a reliable New York sexual assault lawyer.
DO I NEED AN ATTORNEY?
While the state will handle the criminal prosecution of the offender, an attorney will help a sexual assault victim build a civil claim. The criminal case will take care of sentencing while the civil action from the victim can secure compensation for the victim’s damages.
The right attorney can make a tremendous difference in the outcome of a New York sexual assault case.
Attorneys often arrange for support services and other resources for victims in addition to handling their legal cases, and the team at Oliveri & Schwartz is here to help.
Contact us in NYC today at 212-987-1100 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. We will FIGHT for YOU!