In Pennsylvania, many people wonder what legal options they have at their disposal if they are victims of sexual assault. You can count on our experienced legal team for support and assistance.
We have seen the devastating effects of sexual crimes first-hand having worked with past victims. Our goal is to prevent sexual abuse by uprooting perpetrators of abuse and those who protect and enable them.
It is unacceptable to subject anyone to these traumatizing experiences. The civil justice system can provide justice and closure for victims and those who were affected. Taking the first step to healing and recovery is as easy as contacting us today.
Consultations with our sex crimes and work injury lawyers are always 100% free and confidential.
The federal government does not establish which actions constitute sexual assaults, so every state has its own law that governs these crimes. However, the laws around these types of crimes are quite similar across the board.
There are a handful of states that subdivide the term "sexual assault" into individual offenses. A rape, for example, could be considered a form of sexual assault, as would abuse or harassment. As a consequence, each of these acts is punished differently.
Sexual assault involves the coercion or force of someone to perform a sexual act. Moreover, it is not required that the victims have participated physically in the act. Sexual assault could also ensue if a perpetrator forces a victim to witness an act of a sexual nature.
Any person can be sexually assaulted, regardless of age or gender. In recent years, our law office in Pennsylvania has seen cases of disabled elderly in nursing homes becoming victims of sexual predators, as well as special needs students abandoned in religious communities. When crimes are committed in such a wide variety of situations, it's normal to wonder how victims are defined by law.
Laws defining sexual crimes vary from state to state, just as the definition of what a victim of a crime is. Again, it is the general understanding that anyone directly affected by a crime is regarded as a victim. It is important to acknowledge the fact that victims can experience negative consequences in both physical and emotional ways, and that this can help them prove for a court how complex and serious the trauma can be.
In the end, the broad definition of the crime, as well as the broad definition of the victim, empowers those who have been sexually assaulted.
Criminal law is good at dealing out punishment to those found guilty of crimes, but it does a poor job at caring for victims of those criminals. Civil justice is thus a solution to this problem.
Oftentimes, victims would rather move on than undergo a long legal process, so it may appear counterintuitive to put them through it without a guaranteed result. Still, a civil lawsuit can be the only means of obtaining compensation for victims.
If a person is found guilty of sexual assault, he or she may be ordered to prison along with a sentence ordering restitution to the victim and their family. In criminal cases, however, medical care and other damages often do not enter into the decision. Further, the organization that enabled the perpetrator or protected him may not be held accountable.
Victims and the loved ones of the perpetrator can seek damages through the help of a sexual assault lawyer and a civil lawsuit against the criminal and any party that knew about the event and did nothing about it.
Medical expenses, both past and present, are usually included in such damages. Therapy, for example, has been proven to be one of the most effective methods for treating trauma, but it can be quite expensive. Fortunately, legal claims will all but erase these concerns for victims.
It is essential that victims of crime receive justice and ultimately go through the legal system in order to get back on their feet. Several victims report feeling physically and mentally stronger after undergoing treatment. The justice system restores power to victims of sexual assault whose abusers have made them feel powerless. It can do the same for you if you were affected by sexual abuse.
There is a statute of limitations that dictates how long a victim has to make a case against the responsible parties. After this predetermined amount of time has passed, the claim is no longer viable and will likely not be upheld by a judge.
Every state has a different statute of limitations concerning sexual assault, as you have probably guessed. An adult who has been sexually abused or assaulted in Pennsylvania has two years from the date of the incident to file a lawsuit.
It is less strict when it comes to the sexual abuse of children. The victim has until their 30th birthday to present their claim if they were underage when the crime occurred.
The fact that each case is different once more must be emphasized. You can still contact our legal team, even if you do not think you need an assault lawyer. Our sex assault lawyers will answer any questions, and any doubts you might have about whether or not you can file a lawsuit will be entirely mitigated.