Sexual assault has been in the news in an increasing number of cases this year. From Bill Cosby to Jeffrey Epstein, to the Boy Scouts, Catholic Church, local massage parlors, and even Olympic Gymnasts.
While you might be tempted to think the rash of publicity highlights a drastic increase in such criminal conduct, our sexual assault attorneys know that the truth is that victims are becoming more willing to come forward about crimes that have long taken place in the shadows.
It takes courage. But holding abusers accountable is the only way to ensure they do not continue to prey on other victims. The fact of the matter is that these criminals rarely, if ever, stop victimizing people on their own. For decades they have counted on the shame and silence of their victims to allow them to avoid the public shame and criminal penalties their actions deserve.
Victims Rights in Criminal Cases for Sexual Assault
Tragically, a victim’s silence burdens them with the shame and humiliation abusers deserve by being exposed, prosecuted, and punished in criminal and civil court. The criminal court system offers a number of protections to victims, while offering some opportunities for restitution and compensation.
- Victims may be eligible to make a claim through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s victims’ assistance fund, which pays for things like medical care, lost wages, and mental health counseling.
- Victims may remain anonymous throughout the process. Florida Statutes §119.071 and §92.56 mandates information about the criminal investigation of the crime that might identify you be kept confidential and exempt from public records.
- To have an advocate from a certified rape crisis center with you during the medical examination.
- To have the offender, if charged with the crime, tested for HIV and hepatitis and to receive the results of that testing.
- To attend the sentencing or disposition of the offender and request that the offender be required to attend a different school if the offender goes to your school or your sibling’s school.
- To be notified if or when the offender is released.
- To request financial restitution and to speak or have your statement read at sentencing.
Personal Injury Cases for Sexual Assault Victims
Holding an abuser responsible through the criminal courts is important. However, our sexual assault victims attorneys in Fort Myers and Cape Coral know such justice is often incomplete.
The reality is that victims are impacted for the rest of their life. Many will need ongoing counseling and support, and may have other issues, such as anxiety, panic attacks, fear of being left alone, or fear of being out in public. Too often, they are victimized by those who were supposed to help and support them, which shakes their belief in the people and institutions they may have otherwise turned to in their time of need.
Without the help and advocacy of a veteran personal injury law firm, a return to normalcy may not be achieved. At Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, we take a holistic approach to representation of victims of sexual assault by helping them throughout the process, in both criminal and civil courts.
On the civil side, victims are entitled to compensation directly from the perpetrator, as well as his or her employers and their insurance companies. By pursuing claims against the abuser directly, and third-party claims against other liable parties that did not stop or prevent the abuse, we seek justice for victims through substantial awards that both compensate victims and hold these criminals fully accountable for their actions.
If you or a loved one is injured, call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, at 1-800-646-1210.