As the second-largest city in California, San Diego is home to millions of inhabitants. In 2020, the population of San Diego was estimated at 1,447,100 (49.66% female and 50.34% male). These percentages mean something when you look at the statistics for sexual abuse and assault. In a person’s life, the number of rape victims totals one in five women and one in 71 men. Unfortunately, many of these do not get reported to the authorities. In fact, rape is the most under-reported crime in the country – 63% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police, and only 12% of child sexual abuse cases are reported to authorities.
To understand the distinction between sexual abuse and assault, it is highly dependent on the population. Sexual abuse is used to define sexual acts against a vulnerable population. Vulnerable populations in this instance are children, the elderly, or those who are disabled. The idea is that these vulnerable individuals would not be able to consent to the act. Sexual assault is unwanted sexual acts or attention that is not consensual between two adults. In most cases, it is an aggressor forcing another adult to have relations or sustain unwanted touching, fondling, or penetration.
Why Are These Cases Not Reported?
The percentage of cases that go unreported are high in the United States. The reason for this is because victims often feel a plethora of emotions as a result of the trauma sustained. Survivors of these traumas often stay in the shadows because:
- They feel as though there is not enough evidence available to support their claim
- There is imminent fear that retaliation from the perpetrator will occur
- A fear exists that the authorities will blame them or treat them with hostility
- They didn’t think that the authorities would find the crime serious enough
- They don’t want their family or friends knowing about the incident
- There are feelings that they brought on the incident themselves
- There are feelings of embarrassment about the situation
- The survivor doesn’t know how to report the incident or fear the overall process
Many survivors of sexual abuse and assault suffer in silence. The higher the population of a city, like San Diego, the more likely that there is someone dealing with the repercussions of these types of abuse and assault.
What Happens When Reporting Sexual Abuse or Assault?
Authorities are more understanding about cases of sexual abuse and assault than most survivors realize. In fact, many authorities will do whatever the survivor needs to feel comfortable in the situation. After making the initial contact to report the crime, whether seeking medical attention or calling to have a report filed, the police officer will likely come to you, anywhere you feel comfortable.
The best place to go after a crime of sexual violence occurs is the hospital to seek medical attention. The more evidence that can be preserved, the more likely the perpetrator can be brought to justice. Hospitals have advocates on staff who can be present with these victims, making them feel more comfortable and understand the process. The victim also has the right to request a specific gender of the police officer to make the report to.
An interview with the authorities can take up to a couple of hours, depending on the details of the crime. Many of the questions asked will revolve around the timeline of events, what happened, and other details that will help build a case against the offender. Survivors have the right to stop the interview at any point that they begin feeling uncomfortable or overwhelmed. Having an advocate or friend present can help provide survivors support during the recount of the trauma.
Once the report has been compiled and evidence (if applicable) is collected, the report is turned over to the District Attorney’s office. If enough evidence has been collected, the process begins for bringing the offender to justice. The District Attorney will be the one to bring criminal charges against the offender on behalf of the victim. Criminal charges are not the only type of charges that can be brought against an offender.
Filing a Civil Lawsuit in Sexual Abuse and Assault Cases
A civil lawsuit is pursued to gain monetary compensation in a sexual abuse or assault case. Experienced personal injury lawyers who specialize in these types of cases can help survivors recover economic and non-economic damages such as medical payments, therapy bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and much more. When taking a civil lawsuit case for a survivor of a sexually violent crime, legal professionals will often handle the case from start to finish, limiting the number of times a victim must recount the circumstances of the traumatic event.
Do Criminal Convictions Determine the Outcome of Civil Lawsuits?
In civil lawsuits that involve sexual abuse or assault, the conviction of the offender in a criminal case does not determine the outcome of civil proceedings. The liability threshold is different in these cases, and only requires the preponderance of liability for the case to proceed. The legal team does not have to prove beyond the benefit of a doubt that the offender is guilty, only that the evidence is sufficient to prove that there is compensation due to the survivor.
Offenders of sexually violent crimes are not the only ones who are considered liable for civil lawsuits. In circumstances where someone else was responsible for showing a duty of care to the victim, they may be liable if they breached that duty. An example of this is a nursing home administration who hires a sexual predator and not doing their due diligence that results in the sexual abuse of an elderly patient at the hands of that employee. In this situation, the administrator or nursing home facility might be held liable for the damages in the case.
Reasons to Report Sexual Abuse and Assault
Survivors do not realize that when they report these sexually violent crimes, they may be saving someone else’s life in the process. They may also be helping to put away an offender that has already abused or assaulted others in the past. When survivors break the silence, they are doing more good for the world and should be praised for this, not chastised.
Most offenders have either abused or assaulted someone in the past or will do it again if not stopped. When reporting the crime, a survivor is ending the cycle. These survivors are also gaining a level of closure that they would not have if the offender were allowed to walk freely without being held accountable for their actions.
Hiring a legal team that is experienced in these cases is crucial to receiving compensation for the bills or non-economic damages that the abuse or assault created for the survivor. Due to the case’s delicate nature, the legal team should provide survivors with the process upfront, free of surprises. From consultation to the final judgment in the case, the survivor should understand the process and have the support of their legal team by their side.
If you are in San Diego or the surrounding communities, who can you call to handle your civil lawsuit against an offender or liable party?
Your San Diego Sexual Abuse and Assault Legal Team
Not all personal injury lawyers handle sexual abuse and assault cases. In most circumstances, it isn’t because they can’t. They do not have the training or the team to handle the delicacy of the case’s details. TorkLaw is the experienced San Diego sexual abuse and assault legal team capable of helping survivors gain compensation for the damages they have incurred as a result of their trauma.
These cases require a delicate approach that not every legal team has the capacity to accommodate, which is why TorkLaw is the number one choice for survivors seeking compensation. We offer potential clients FREE and confidential case consultation, with no obligation. We understand how hard it can be for a survivor to come forward, let alone pursue the offender – this reason alone is why we fight for justice on behalf of our clients.
If you or a loved one are the survivors of sexual abuse or assault, TorkLaw wants to help you get the compensation you deserve. Our expertly trained legal team understands the process of civil litigations in these types of cases. We work with you and for you, limiting the number of times you have to recount your traumatic experience. Our goal is to make the court experience as painless as possible by handling everything we can before requiring you to testify.
When medical bills, therapy bills, and lost wages are piling up due to a traumatic sexual abuse or assault, we are the legal team that makes the liable party pay for them. We also focus on non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and often pursue punitive damages if the case ends up in front of a jury.
Call our legal team now for your FREE and confidential case consultation at 888.845.9696 or fill out our online contact form.