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Filing a Civil Lawsuit for Sexual Abuse Victims

There are thousands of sexual abuse cases reported in the United States each year. Some involve multiple victims, while others are for one victim of a single perpetrator. But many of these victims do not realize that they have the legal right to sue the abusive person who caused them injury and damage. This type of lawsuit is a civil suit.

When a claim of sexual abuse is filed against a perpetrator, the sexual assault victim may claim damages and receive compensation for their injuries. This compensation may include payment for the following results of those abusive actions:

  • Physical injuries
  • Psychological damages
  • Emotional damages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Other related injuries

Such a case requires the skill and experience of a well-established and knowledgeable personal injury and civil lawsuit attorney. This type of lawyer can help victims make the right decision for their needs, in regard to legal recourse and compensation for their personal injuries.


Sexual Abuse Defined

Sexual abuse is a category of abuse covering varied offenses related to sexual actions. The act of unwanted, non-consensual sexual interaction is the primary thread that connects crimes of these cases. These crimes may involve the following sexual and non-sexual actions:

  • Inappropriate touching
  • Rape
  • Sexual assault
  • Molestation
  • Sexual battery
  • Secondary abuse in conjunction with sexual abuse that may include:
    • Physical abuse
    • Verbal and non-verbal threats
    • Intimidation
    • Other forms of abuse

Any unwanted sexual contact may fit under this category. But many states also include other crimes or exclude others.


Details of Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is most commonly caused by someone the victim knows or has a certain familiarity with, contrary to the more popular belief that these crimes are more often the result of “stranger danger.” It is only in more rare circumstances that victims are sexually assaulted by a stranger or through a random encounter. Sadly, perpetrators of sexual abuse are often well known, trusted, liked and personally involved in the victims’ lives for many years.

The home of the victim or the abuser are often where sexual abuse crimes occur. Homes of neighbors, extended family or friends may be where acts take place. Churches, work sites, schools and related areas of trust may be involved. Many of these crimes are enacted upon young children, although people of any age can be victimized by sexual abuse.


Unexpected Sexual Abuse

It is almost common today to hear of elder sexual abuse occurring in nursing homes and hospitals. People who live in nursing homes or patients of hospitals are often vulnerable to their caregivers and environment. Their bodies may be fragile, even when they are consciously aware of what is happening to them. In many circumstances, complaints from nursing home patients or others in these settings are ignored and disregarded as confusion or disjointed memories. Allegations of sexual abuse are often disbelieved by even family and friends of victims. It is only after someone pays attention, listens and reports that these allegations of abuse can be helped.

Sexual abuse can occur in the workplace, although most situations of sexual harassment do not extend to sexual abuse. Women are most often the victims of these circumstances. But men are more frequently reporting such crimes, than ever before. Women frequently must confront their male abuser and continue working while gaining assistance from friends, family and therapy. When men are victimized through sexual abuse, the crimes are often related to male domination in actions perpetrated by one male against another male coworker. Female workers do abuse some males and this scenario, although more rare than opposite gender abuse for female victims, does occur.

Both female and male victims often leave the sexual abuse unreported. This is most often due to shame, guilt and other negative emotions victims suffer. Loss of work is often a fear that keeps victims from reporting. Victims also fear judgment by others and the stigma of victimization.


Sexual Abuse with Multiple Victims

It can take victims time to move forward from sexual abuse crimes. This is why many states have extended statutes of limitations for sex abuse violations. But history has proven that once a predatory person has started offending people, he or she will abuse repeatedly. Many sex abusers are known to have committed acts against others in the past, but people choose to ignore the problem. When these crimes are unreported, the abuse usually continues – often focused upon other or new victims.

In some situations of sexual abuse, multiple victims may come forward to report or prosecute one offender. For states that extend statutes of limitations for reporting of sexual abuse crimes, multiple individuals may be able to accuse the same offender to seek criminal justice or compensation through civil action.


Taking Action against Abusers

Criminal cases are how sexual abuse cases are prosecuted. Offenders are punished through sentencing that may include:

  • Prison terms
  • Fines
  • Community service
  • Sex offender registration in their community
  • Probation
  • Other related punishments

But criminal cases do not compensate individuals for medical costs, years of therapy the victims usually need, or other damages suffered by victims. Psychological damage can be severe for victims of sexual abuse and may require extended treatment and even inpatient treatment. Civil suits provide victims a pathway to seeking damages and compensation from their offenders, so these victims may gain support for recovery from the abuse.

If you or someone you love have been victimized through sexual abuse, a personal injury and civil lawsuit attorney can help you pursue compensation for damages and injuries suffered. It is important to reach out to a lawyer as soon as possible, due to Arizona statutes of limitations. Call the Phoenix Law Offices of Cantor Crane now at 602.254.2701 for a free, no-obligation consultation regarding your sexual abuse case.

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