Sexual Assault and the Law
Being a victim of sexual assault is often a traumatic experience. You may be thrust into a whirlwind of emotions as you struggle with what to do next. Understandably, you may be confused and conflicted. This is perfectly natural, and the sexual assault attorney team from The Paul Powell Law Firm is here to help guide you through the recovery and compensation process.
What Is Sexual Assault?
There isn’t a single definition of sexual assault, since each state and jurisdiction create their own laws. Generally speaking, sexual assault may refer to any unwanted sexual act performed without consent, including if a person was unable to give consent because of incapacitation, unconsciousness, mental deficiency, being drugged, etc.
Some examples of sexual assault might include:
- Unwanted bodily contact
- Performing sexual acts on an inebriated or unconscious person
- Using a weapon to coerce someone to perform sexual acts
- Sexual conduct with a minor
What Is the Proper Course of Action?
If you’re the victim of a sexual assault, there are some things you should do right away, and some things you should avoid:
- DO contact someone who can help. Whom you contact is up to you, but, generally, you should call 911, contact your local police department directly, or visit a medical center where you can be looked over.
- DO have a sexual assault forensic exam. While this step is optional, it is recommended that victims of sexual assault complete this exam, otherwise known as a “rape kit.” This preserves DNA evidence and can lead to a higher chance of finding, prosecuting, and convicting the perpetrator(s).
- DON’T post anything on social media relating to your case. If you are filing a sexual assault claim, it’s best you limit your social media use to exclude anything related to your sexual assault. For specific questions, contact The Paul Powell Law Firm.
- DON’T lose hope. It can be easy to become overwhelmed with stress, anguish, and a variety of other emotions. Know that you are not alone, and the counsel from The Paul Powell Law Firm is always there to support you.
How Do I File a Sexual Assault Claim?
There are various methods you can take to filing a sexual assault claim. Here are just a few options:
- Contact the Police—Talking with the police allows officers of the law to promptly begin an investigation into your case. You will likely be interviewed for possibly many hours. While this may seem cumbersome, understand that the police are just doing everything they can do obtain every shred of evidence they can.
- Speak with a Medical Professional—If you’d rather not speak with law enforcement right away, you can speak to the medical professional who is responsible for treating any injuries and examining you for the perpetrator’s DNA evidence. Simply tell them that you’d want to report the crime. Additionally, you can speak to a variety of mental health specialists trained to deal with trauma. Regardless of whom you speak with, know that even if you don’t prosecute immediately, completing a “rape kit” will allow for the preservation of DNA evidence and the uploading of the perpetrator’s information into a national database for future records.
- Consult with an Attorney—An attorney can make or break your sexual assault case. With serious cases such as those involving sexual assault, it’s best to consult with those experienced with the law. Contact a reputable team of lawyers—preferably those found at The Paul Powell Law Firm—for an increased chance of receiving compensation and putting the perpetrator behind bars.
Keep in mind that, depending on the state, time is limited to filing a sexual assault claim. Some states impose a statute of limitations, which is a law stating the period of time a prosecutor can charge the perpetrator. If the statute of limitations runs out, no charges can be brought against the perpetrator. This is why taking immediate action is important. While you may be uncomfortable and nervous, know that the sooner you take action, the greater chance there is for retribution.
Some important things to establish during a sexual assault case:
- Lack of Consent—It’s pivotal to point out how the sexual act took place and whether the act was consensual. Establishing a clear lack of consent is essential for a sexual assault case.
- Identity—Figuring out who committed the sexual assault is also important. Often, though, the perpetrator is someone the victim knows.
- Aggravating Circumstances—Other aggravating circumstances, such as the perpetrator spiking the victim’s drink, could lead to the defendant’s conviction and compensation for the victim.
What Are the Damages from Sexual Assault?
Trauma from a sexual assault varies among individuals. Potential physical damages could include external as well as internal injuries. But, that’s not all. There are also plenty of emotional and mental traumas that a person could carry for weeks, months, and even years after the sexual assault occurred.
Examples of some lasting injuries include:
- Unstable emotions/mood swings
- Permanent physical injuries
When calculating damages, every kind of harm—physical, mental, emotional, etc.—is factored into the victim’s just compensation. And, with experienced guidance from The Paul Powell Law Firm, you can rest assured you’ll be receiving excellent care.
What Do the Statistics Show?
Instances of sexual assaults have been on the decline. The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network reported that in 2016, there were over 300,000 sexual assaults. This number is much lower than those in the early 90s. For instance, in 1999, there were nearly 600,000 sexual assaults. Overall, the rate of sexual assault and rape has fallen by 63% (from 4.3 to 1.2 assaults per 1,000 individuals) since 1993.
That isn’t to say that sexual assault isn’t still a problem. It is. Thousands of inmates, children, spouses, military members, and other Americans experience sexual assault. One in every six women have been the victims of an attempted or completed rape, and one in every thirty-three men have been the victims of an attempted or completed rape. And, of those who were victims of sexual assault, 48% were sleeping or doing something else at their own home.
How Can a Sexual Assault Attorney Help Me?
Suffering from a sexual assault can leave you feeling helpless, but you shouldn’t have to fight alone. With help from The Powell Law Firm, you won’t have to. Here’s how we can help you:
- Gather and Organize Evidence—Our professional legal team works together and with partners to collect and manage all the evidence of your case. We’ll work to present the clearest, most impenetrable arguments we can muster to win your compensation.
- Represent You—Knowledge of the law is serious business, and it’s something we from The Powell Law Firm possess. Don’t fight the opposition blindly. Let us lead the way with our legal prowess and professional experience.
- Relieve Stress—After a sexual assault, you will likely face many burdens and stresses. The last thing on your mind should be going to court. Luckily, we’ll deal with all your legal battles for you so you can focus on healing physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Need Help from a Sexual Assault Lawyer?
If you need help from a sexual assault attorney, contact The Paul Powell Law Firm. You can reach our Vegas team at 702-728-5500 and our Chicago team at 312-635-5400. Alternatively, you can take advantage of our LiveChat feature or fill out a contact form. Consultations are always free, so don’t hesitate; get in touch with us today!