Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts
Sexual abuse is devastating physically and harmful emotionally and mentally. Victims of abuse not only experience pain but they also often experience guilt and shame. The compassionate attorneys and staff at the Law Offices of Andrew Shubin are committed to providing professional and discreet representation and counsel to survivors of sexual abuse. Below, our New Jersey institutional sexual abuse attorney discusses what steps you should take to report sexual abuse.
Sexual Abuse and Violence in New Jersey
Sexual abuse or violence is any sexual act that occurs against somebody’s will. Abuse comes in a variety of forms, typically motivated by control or power. New Jersey law does not distinguish between the sexual abuse of females or males – the laws are gender-neutral.
Sexual violence and abuse includes rape, attempted rape, unwanted sexual touching, threatened sexual abuse or violence, verbal sexual harassment, and exhibitionism. Victims of these crimes, or any other conduct that could be construed as sexual abuse, have the right to pursue criminal charges and a civil lawsuit. Our New Jersey attorney for victims of sexual abuse by a coach, medical professional, or another institutional figure will help you understand your options.
Steps to Take if You Were a Victim of Sexual Abuse in New Jersey
Victims of sexual assault should take a series of steps after the incident takes place. First and foremost, a victim of abuse should get to a safe place. Next, contact your county Sexual Violence Agency. Not only will the trained staff provide the emotional support you require, but they will also inform you of your available options – including contracting the police and filing a formal complaint.
New Jersey offers a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) that could be activated by calling your local police department or 911. The SART consists of a trained law enforcement officer, a forensic nurse examiner, and a confidential sexual violence advocate. Timing is of the essence when contacting a SART and it must be done within five days of the incident. However, the services are available seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day.
While it is your decision whether or not to activate the SART, the compassionate professionals are trained in providing inclusive emotional and medical care while providing essential information regarding your options and rights. They will also begin gathering evidence that could be critical in either a criminal case or a personal injury lawsuit. In addition to the time requirement, a victim must be over the age of thirteen to activate the SART.
Should Victims of Sexual Abuse in New Jersey Seek Medical Attention?
It is crucial that you seek medical attention if you were the victim of sexual abuse by the Catholic Church or other institution. Even if you do not believe you suffered any injuries, you might have been hurt and not realize it because of the emotional trauma you experienced. Hospitals and emergency rooms not only provide medical treatment, but the doctors and nurses will also provide victims of sexual assault emergency contraception if required and requested. Your treating physician will also document your injuries and gather any available medical evidence, such as DNA or other physical evidence that remained on your body or clothes.
You should not bathe, change or wash your clothes, eat, drink, brush your teeth, urinate, or anything else that could destroy or remove potential evidence. Criminal prosecutors will require evidence to obtain a guilty verdict against your assailant if you pursue criminal charges, and our New Jersey sexual abuse victim attorney will need evidence to prevail in a civil lawsuit.
Civil Lawsuits Versus Criminal Cases for Sexual Abuse in New Jersey
Victims of sexual abuse have two options to pursue justice. Through the criminal court system, the state will prosecute your assailant. The defendant will be facing conviction, jail time, being placed on the sex offenders’ registry, and possible fines or restitution. During this process, the survivor of abuse is sometimes lost within the evidence.
Many victims find justice and a sense of agency by filing a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. Injured survivors are entitled to seek monetary compensation for their injuries, including medical expenses, the cost of therapy, and any lost wages due to work they might have missed due to the abuse. Our experienced New Jersey attorney for sexual abuse victims represents clients with professional discretion and compassion.
It is important to note that a criminal prosecution is not necessary to pursue a civil claim. Furthermore, a not-guilty verdict does not prohibit a victim from filing a case in civil court. Because the burden of proof is greater in a criminal proceeding, a victim of abuse could prevail in a personal injury case even if their assailant escaped sentencing.
Damages Available in a Sexual Abuse Lawsuit in New Jersey
One of the benefits of a civil lawsuit is the ability to be compensated for your financial losses. In New Jersey, a survivor of sexual abuse could recover for any expenses related to the injury or abuse. These damages include your medical expenses, including co-pays and deductibles. Additionally, a survivor could recover the cost of future medical treatment, ongoing therapy, and any lost income resulting from the abuse or its treatment.
Victims of sexual abuse could also be awarded compensation for pain and emotional suffering. Our New Jersey sexual abuse victim defense attorney will carefully and thoroughly evaluate the impact the abuse had on your physical well-being and emotional welfare. A survivor of abuse should be compensated for the mental distress they endured.
In cases where there is significant malice, for example, an institution that covered up sexual abuse, a court could order punitive damages. This award is not related to your injuries and is meant to punish the defendant.
Call Our New Jersey Attorney for Sexual Abuse Victims for a Free, Confidential Consultation
Our New Jersey lawyer for sexual abuse in the Boy Scouts, school, or other institution understands that the physical and emotional scars from sexual abuse could last a lifetime. Survivors are entitled to seek compensation for the suffering they endured. Often, filing a personal injury claim brings a greater sense of justice than a criminal prosecution. The Law Offices of Andrew Shubin provides professional representation to and fights for the rights of victims of sexual assault. Call (814) 826-3586 to schedule a free, confidential consultation to review your options.