In the U.S., just 23% of sexual assaults are reported to police. Of those reports, only 5% ever result in the perpetrator spending time in prison. There is a huge imbalance of power between sex offenders and sexual assault victims. The Paul Powell Law Firm seeks to hold perpetrators of sexual violence accountable for their actions whenever possible. A qualified Chicago sexual assault lawyer can help you file a claim and collect compensation for the physical and emotional harm you incurred from an assault.
What is Sexual Assault?
Under Illinois state law, sexual assault is defined as the act of sexual penetration in conjunction with any of the following:
- Perpetrator’s use of force
- Lack of consent or inability to give consent by the victim
- Victim’s status as a family member under the age of 18
- Perpetrator is at least 17 and holds a position of trust, authority, or supervision over a victim between the ages of 13 and 18.
Criminal sexual abuse refers to perpetrators who commit acts of sexual conduct with any person under the age of 17, which is the mandatory age of consent in Illinois. This type of assault is more commonly referred to as statutory rape. A person can be charged with criminal sexual abuse even if the sexual conduct was supposedly consensual, because those under 17 are not legally able to give consent according to the Illinois Compiled Statutes (ILCS).
Sexual Assault in Chicago
In Chicago alone, upwards of 1700 criminal sexual assaults have been reported in 2019. Sexual assault is a felony punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment for the first conviction and up to 60 years for subsequent convictions in Illinois.
Unfortunately, sexual assault is one of the most under-reported crimes in the United States. It takes tremendous courage to come forward and file a police report, as many victims fear that they won’t be believed by law enforcement or that their reputation may be damaged by pursuing a criminal or civil case.
At The Paul Powell Law Firm, we believe sexual assault victims, and we and fight for their rights to compensation following an assault. A Chicago sexual assault lawyer from our team will gather all the pertinent details of your case and develop a winning strategy to hold the perpetrator responsible. No amount of money will reverse the consequences of a sexual assault, but it may be able to help you with ongoing costs for mental health counseling or any medical bills you have as a result.
Coping with Sexual Assault
The long-term consequences of sexual violence can be devastating and may include any of the following:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Self-harm or suicidal ideation
- Substance abuse
It is crucial that those who have suffered from sexual assault or abuse receive appropriate physical and emotional care as soon as possible. One-on-one therapy, support groups, and prescribed medication may all be conducive to the healing process.
Compensation for Sexual Assault
Damages for sexual assault victims can include compensation for both physical and emotional harm. This may look like:
- Ongoing costs for therapy
- Lost wages due to emotional distress
- Medical bills
- Depression, anxiety, PTSD
- Other mental health conditions
- Reduction in quality of life
Calculating the monetary value of non-economic losses like the ones listed above can be challenging, but a qualified Chicago sexual assault lawyer can help you with these details when assembling your case.
Statute of Limitations
For criminal cases, Illinois recently amended the ILCS to abolish the statute of limitations for criminal sexual assault cases, meaning victims can now come forward at any time regardless of age and proceed with a criminal case against their abusers.
For civil cases, the law is more complicated. For cases in which the perpetrator was criminally convicted for sexual assault, there is no statute of limitations on civil cases. However, if the abuser was not criminally convicted of sexual assault, the statute of limitations for civil sexual assault cases is only two years from the date of the assault.
It should be noted that the statute of limitations in Illinois regarding child sexual abuse civil cases is 20 years after the victim turns 18 or reasonably recognizes that personal injury was caused by the sexual abuse, whichever comes later.
Contacting a Chicago Sexual Assault Lawyer
If you are wondering whether you should file a sexual assault lawsuit, speaking with Chicago sexual assault lawyer a should be an essential step in helping you to decide. Especially since sexual assault claims can be long and complex, you’ll need someone in your corner to protect your legal rights.
Over the past 17 years, Paul Powell has recovered total verdict and trial settlements approaching $250 million for his clients. At The Paul Powell Law Firm, you’ll receive compassionate assistance from an attorney who understands the intricacies of your case and has the experience to secure the best settlement possible.
For result-driven help from a Chicago sexual assault lawyer who truly cares, contact The Paul Powell Law Firm today. You can reach us by phone at 312-635-5400, chat with one of our representatives online, or submit a free case evaluation.