What Percentage of Sexual Abuse Cases Make it to Court?

Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts

In recent years, survivors of sexual abuse have been seeking justice in unprecedented numbers. Unfortunately, it still remains rare for abusers to be held accountable for their actions. However, each survivor that brings litigation against an abuser can encourage others to do the same.

The sad reality is that very few sexual abuse cases make it to court. According to a 2019 report from the U.S. Department of Justice, only 33% of sexual abuse cases are reported to the police. While survivors do not need to involve law enforcement to file a civil suit, reporting the case to the police is often the first step for survivors who choose to disclose. However, so few survivors report sexual abuse out of fear. Because such a small amount of sexual abuse cases make it to court, it’s important to fight for those cases when they do arise.

For two decades, the team at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin has represented survivors. Our goal is to hold abusers responsible and get our clients the results they deserve. For a free and confidential consultation, call the compassionate sexual abuse lawyers at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin today at (814) 826-3586.

What Percentage of Sexual Abuse Cases Go to Court?

It’s difficult to assess the exact percentage of sexual abuse cases that go to court. Because civil litigation is less likely to involve police and law enforcement, there are fewer statistics available. However, based on a U.S. Department of Justice report, very few cases of sexual abuse are reported to the police each year.

Because of that, it’s clear that a low percentage of sexual abuse cases go to civil court. The low percentage might be attributed to the fear that sexual abuse survivors experience. Commonly, sexual abuse is perpetrated by someone known to a victim. That can make it even more difficult to pursue litigation. In reality, most cases of sexual abuse are never reported and never litigated. More importantly, survivors might not know that filing a civil lawsuit is even an option.

Although the U.S. Department of Justice has estimated that 33% of sexual assaults go unreported, the actual number could be much higher. It isn’t easy to assess how many potential cases there might be. One thing that is known is that survivors have difficulty coming forward about abuse.

If you or a loved one have been sexually abused, you might fear seeking justice because few cases go to court. However, with each new case won, support among survivors can grow. Another win might encourage another survivor to file a lawsuit against an abuser. While it can be frightening and overwhelming to bring charges against an abuser, the compassionate sexual assault victim attorneys at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin can offer support.

Why Do So Few Sexual Abuse Cases Make it to Court?

It can be difficult for survivors to report sexual abuse. If the abuse occurred during childhood, it might take years to grapple with and understand – or even to remember – what happened. Unfortunately, sometimes the statute of limitations on these cases runs out. That means that survivors become unable to file charges against an abuser.

While child victims often have much longer to file charges, that can vary from state to state. In Pennsylvania, for example, child survivors who experienced abuse before 2019 can file charges until their 30th birthday. For those who experienced sexual abuse as minors after 2019, the filing deadline is their 55th birthday. It’s important to note that the statute of limitations to bring sexual abuse lawsuits against an abuser can change within a state over time.

Recently, there’s been a push to extend the statute of limitations for sexual abuse nationwide. Some states, like New York, have offered look-back windows to allow survivors to sue past the statute of limitations. However, that doesn’t mean that your state has victim-centered limits. By the time survivors feel prepared to bring charges against an abuser, it might be too late.

Adult survivors of sexual abuse often have a much shorter timeframe to file a lawsuit. For example, in Pennsylvania, adult survivors over 24 have two years to sue an abuser. Survivors 18-24 have until their 30th birthday. Sexual abuse is often traumatic for those who experience it. Working through that trauma takes time, which is why survivors can miss the window of opportunity to sue.

It can also be difficult for survivors to find an attorney they can trust with their experience. The compassionate sexual abuse lawyers at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin are reliable and effective. Our team can handle your case with care and fight to hold offenders accountable.

Our Attorneys Can Take Your Sexual Abuse Case to Court

Because so few survivors come forward about sexual abuse and pursue litigation, sexual abuse lawyers should dedicate themselves to each case they encounter. However, finding the right team to represent your interests might not be easy.

For over 20 years, the sexual abuse lawyers at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin have fought for survivors. Abuse can cause emotional or physical damages that warrant litigation. However, because of the fear survivors experience, suing can be difficult.

Our experienced team can help you through the litigation process. The lawyers at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin employ a client-centered approach. Our attorneys can help you understand the specifics of your case and get you the justice you deserve.

Call Our Compassionate Sexual Abuse Attorneys for a Consultation

If you or a loved one has been sexually abused, you deserve justice. For a free, confidential consultation, call the experienced sexual abuse lawyers at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin today at (814) 826-3586.


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