Victims of sexual abuse often have trouble deciding what type of action to take against their perpetrators and other parties that were involved. Criminal prosecution is the only way to ensure that a perpetrator of sexual abuse or assault will face jail time, probation, fines, or other sanctions if convicted. However, the only way that victims can receive monetary compensation for damages is to file a suit in civil court.
Types of Claims
There is no legal theory, or cause to action, called “sexual assault.” Instead, victims must find other legal theories under which to file suit and hold perpetrators liable. These include assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Proving a Claim
Incidents of sexual abuse that have also given rise to successful criminal prosecution often lead to an increased success rate in civil court. However, even if there was no criminal case brought against the defendant, victims can still seek monetary compensation. The standard of proof in civil cases is lower than that required in criminal courts, so plaintiffs need only prove that the defendant more likely than not committed the act.
Damages can only be rewarded if a jury finds that the victim has suffered physical or emotional harm due to the alleged abuse. Given that sexual abuse is a particularly egregious crime, many perpetrators are found to be legally liable for large amounts of compensation. Unfortunately, though, many defendants are not wealthy, making it difficult to collect.
Suing Additional Parties
If the act of abuse occurred in the workplace, at a school, or in another institution, often third parties can also be held liable for paying out damages. These third parties are most commonly employers or supervisors who have acted negligently or failed to provide adequate security for their employees. When the perpetrator of an assault does not have sufficient money or assets to pay damages to the victim, this course of action can help ensure that the victim still receives compensation for emotional suffering and physical damage.
Get Some Help
The best course of action for any victim of sexual abuse is to hire a Sexual Abuse Attorney. He or she will then help the victim understand what legal options are available, evaluate the strength of the case, and provide representation in court.