Understanding What Constitutes Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse can be defined as any non-consensual sexual act performed against another person, including rape, sexual assault, molestation, and exploitation. There are many forms of sexual abuse, such as verbal harassment or intimidation, physical contact without consent, or forcing someone to watch pornography. All forms of sexual abuse are considered illegal and may give rise to a claim.
The effects of sexual abuse on victims can be devastating and long-lasting. Victims may experience physical pain from the assault itself; psychological trauma from the violation of their trust; mental health issues such as depression or anxiety; or social stigma related to being a survivor of sexual assault. It is important for victims to understand their legal rights so they can seek justice for themselves or for their loved ones who have been affected by sexual abuse.
The New York Statute of Limitations and Exceptions: The Adult Survivors Act
In New York State, there is normally a three-year statute of limitations from when an act took place before it can no longer be prosecuted in court. This means that if you were sexually abused more than three years ago, you may not be able to file a lawsuit against your abuser under New York law.
However, New York has enacted the Adult Survivors Act, which reopens claims previously time-barred, allowing claims to be brought until November 23, 2023, for older claims.
Depending on your situation, if that window has passed, you could potentially have claims under other state laws or federal laws such as Title IX (which protects individuals from discrimination based on gender). Every case is different, and we would need to evaluate your individual situation.
The Legal Process of Filing a Lawsuit
There are several steps involved in filing a lawsuit for sexual abuse. First and foremost is gathering evidence that supports your case—this includes any medical reports documenting physical injuries sustained during the assault; photographs taken at the scene; witness statements; emails; text messages; etc.
The evidence helps prove that an act occurred without consent and was perpetrated by another person. Having this kind of proof is important for success in court proceedings. Of course, you can testify as to what happened, which also constitutes evidence. The more evidence you have, the greater your opportunity for a successful action.
Finally, there are both civil lawsuits (in which one individual sues another for damages) and criminal cases (in which an individual is found guilty by jury). Depending on your specific situation, it may be appropriate to pursue both to seek justice against your abuser(s).
Types of Evidence Required in a Sexual Abuse Case
The types of evidence required in a sexual abuse case will depend on the case’s particular facts. Generally speaking, evidence may include: medical records documenting physical injuries; photographs or videos of any injuries; police reports; witness statements; and expert testimony from medical or mental health professionals who can provide insight into the psychological effects of abuse.
How to Collect and Preserve Evidence
It is important for victims to preserve any relevant evidence as soon as possible after an incident has occurred. Any physical evidence should be kept in its original state so that it can be used as proof at trial if necessary. In addition, all written documents should also be preserved, including emails, text messages, and other forms of communication with the abuser or related parties. Victims should also take pictures of any visible injuries they may have sustained during an attack or assault.
Importance of Medical Examinations
Victims should seek medical attention immediately after an incident to ensure they are safe. The healthcare provider should properly document their injuries. Medical examinations can help establish both physical and emotional distress caused by sexual abuse and are essential evidence for building a successful case against an offender. In addition, receiving medical attention can help victims identify any potential long-term health issues associated with their trauma before they become larger problems.
Importance of Witnesses
Witnesses are another valuable source of information when filing a sexual abuse lawsuit. If witnesses were present during an incident, they might be able to provide valuable details about what happened, strengthening your case against an offender. It is important for victims to speak with witnesses soon after an incident has occurred so that they do not forget key details or become confused over time by other accounts they may hear about what happened from other sources.
No one should go through the trauma of sexual abuse alone. There are organizations throughout New York State dedicated to providing support for survivors. Additionally, it is important for victims to reach out for support from family members and friends throughout this process; they can serve as invaluable sources of encouragement and understanding when you need them most.
It is also highly recommended that victims seek professional counseling from qualified therapists who specialize in treating survivors of sexual trauma. Therapy sessions can provide much-needed space for reflection on one’s experience while helping victims move forward.
Seeking Justice for Victims of Sexual Abuse
Understanding the legal process of filing a sexual abuse lawsuit requires diligence and patience. It provides hope for survivors seeking justice against their abusers while empowering them along their journey toward healing.
Never forget that you deserve justice no matter how long it takes. Hold your head high while seeking out all available resources at your disposal.
Contact Alonso Krangle today for a no-obligation, non-judgmental consultation. We’ve helped many who have been the victim of abuse and can help you. Call us today at (800) 403-6191 to schedule a discrete consultation.