The statistics regarding sexual abuse are shocking: The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) reports that someone is sexually assaulted every 68 seconds in the United States. Sadly, many victims of sexual assault, rape, and sexual abuse are children. If you were sexually assaulted or abused by a caretaker, teacher, religious authority, or another individual, you should know that you have options for holding the liable person or organization accountable.
Understanding the Difference Between Civil and Criminal Sex Abuse Cases
When most people think about taking legal action against a sex predator, they assume that the action is being taken in criminal court. However, this is not the only legal route available in sex abuse cases. Through a civil lawsuit, a victim of sexual abuse or sexual assault may hold the perpetrator responsible and pursue financial compensation for the damages he or she suffered because of the abuse. Criminal charges are brought by the state but a civil claim is brought by the actual victim. The standard of proof is lower in civil cases than it is in criminal cases. This means that it is possible to file a successful civil suit even if the perpetrator was not criminally convicted of the offense. Often, sex abuse civil cases are brought against the organization such as a church or religious organization, school, daycare, summer camp, medical facility, or business instead of the individual perpetrator or perpetrators.
Why Should I File a Sex Abuse Claim?
You may wonder if filing a claim is even worth the mental and emotional stress it may cause you. Understandably, it can be extremely painful to think about past abuse. However, filing a sex abuse claim can accomplish two important goals. First and foremost, it is a way to hold the responsible party accountable for the abuse you endured. The more sex abuse survivors that come forward, the harder it is for perpetrators to hide in secrecy. Secondly, filing a civil claim may allow you to collect financial compensation for your damages. There is no amount of money that could make up for something as heinous as sexual abuse. However, compensation can help alleviate the financial burden created by the abuse. You may be compensated for medical bills, including mental health care, as well as pain and suffering, loss of qualify of life, and more.