1 in 6 women, and 1 in 33 men in America have been the victim of a completed or attempted rape in their lifetime. It is often understandably very difficult for a survivor of sexual abuse to seek justice for what happened to them and only approximately 19% of rapes committed in America are reported annually.
In the immediate aftermath of a sexual assault, it is understandable that legal action is the furthest thing from your mind. Getting support, and both your physical and mental wellbeing must take priority. However, when the time is right for you, seeking compensation through a sexual abuse claim with a personal injury law firm may be the right course of action. This can help you to gain additional support and compensation for you and your family after such a traumatic event.
Attorneys at Wendt Law understand the life changing impact that being a victim of a sex crime can have. We understand both the physical and emotional trauma that sexual abuse survivors go through, some of which may take years to recover from, or result in permanent trauma.
As a survivor of a sex crime, you have the right to pursue a case in both criminal and civil courts. A criminal conviction may secure a jail sentence, inclusion on a sex offenders registry, or other sanctions for the perpetrator.
However, a civil case gives victims and their families the ability to seek compensation for damages. This compensation will help survivors with costs that may be incurred as a result of missing work, or therapy, that may be required to support your recovery, for example.
Wendt Law attorneys are proud to be aggressive advocates for victims of sex crimes in Kansas City. Contact a Wendt Law Kansas City sex crime attorney on 816-542-6734 for a free consultation and to begin the process to secure financial security to support your healing process.
What Should I Do Following a Sexual Assault?
If you experience a sexual assault, you should contact law enforcement as quickly as possible following the incident. Police are best placed to support victims in the immediate aftermath following a sex crime and can advise you on the next steps to take. This includes advice regarding seeking emotional and legal support and how to avoid potential legal complications if you choose to press charges.
Sex crimes are traumatic and painful events to endure and there are a range of options available to support you in the aftermath. In Kansas City, MOCSA (the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault) helps survivors of assaults and can help you to access further support. In addition, the National Organization RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) are also dedicated to helping survivors of sexual abuse.
After getting support for both your physical and mental wellbeing, and when you feel ready to do so, a team of compassionate Wendt Law attorneys are available to help. We can help you to think about your next steps in terms of legal action and our free consultation is available to discuss the right course of action for you, with no obligations or fees.
What Can I Expect in a Sex Crime Case?
For survivors of sex crimes, avenues of legal recourse are available to you through both the criminal and civil court systems.
In a criminal case, prosecutors are aiming to protect society as a whole and reduce the potential risk to society in the future. Criminal sex crime cases may result in prison sentences, or a lifetime registration as a sex offender for example.
Civil sex offense cases however, focus on the victim and seek compensation for the trauma that the victim has faced. A civil lawsuit aims to secure compensation for damages for the victim of a sexual assault to aid in their ability to recover and move on from the incident. It is possible for a perpetrator of a sex crime to be facing both civil charges from their victim, at the same time as criminal charges from the state.
In a civil case, the standard of proof is lower than in criminal sexual crimes. In Kansas City, to win a civil case, it must only be proven that it is ‘more likely than not’, that the sex offenses took place, as opposed to proving ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ in a criminal case.
Although it is not a criminal conviction, a civil lawsuit can still help to make the community safer by publicly exposing both the perpetrator of the sex offense and any entities that may have allowed the offenses to take place.
A personal injury lawyer, specializing in sexual abuse can ensure that you receive the best possible legal representation in your civil lawsuit and achieve the compensation you deserve.
Wendt Law personal injury attorneys are highly experienced in helping victims of sexual assaults to navigate the civil law process and secure compensation for the offenses committed against them. We can also advise on what aspects of your civil case may be reliant upon the criminal case and the types of compensation that you can expect from your case.
Criminal Sexual Abuse Cases
In Kansas City, it is often down to the victim of sex crimes to decide whether they want to press charges and pursue a criminal case.
Common criminal charges in sex crimes include rape, sexual battery, sexual assault, indecent exposure, statutory rape, and solicitation of a minor. In Kansas City, most sex crimes are considered as felony crimes. Conviction of felony sex crimes can result in incarceration, being listed on a sex offenders registry, and fines.
If a criminal sexual crime is pursued, the state prosecutes sex crime cases aggressively. As a defendant usually wants to avoid sex crime charges at all costs, it common that most criminal cases will go to court.
However, in some cases, the state may decide it is not possible to pursue a criminal sexual charge, despite the victim’s wishes to do so. This is usually because the state deems that the likelihood of conviction is too low.
A lack of evidence, challenges identifying the perpetrator and reasonable doubt can all impact this decision. In criminal cases, the burden of proof lies with the prosecutor and the defense only has to prove reasonable doubt for it to not be possible to secure a conviction.
Historically, criminal sexual crimes have been notoriously challenging to prove and secure convictions for. Although this is improving, at present, only approximately 1.3% of rape cases are referred to prosecution.
Penalties for Criminal Sexual Abuse Charges
Conviction of felony sex crimes can result in a range of penalties, dependent on the severity of the assault. Contributing factors also include whether there was a weapon involved and the age of the victims. Penalties for sex crimes range from probation to incarceration.
Registration as a Sex Offender
Kansas City sex crime law states that every individual that is convicted of a certain sex crime must be registered as a sex offender and listed on the sex offender registry for the state. Crimes that warrant this registry include convictions of rape, statutory rape, solicitation of a minor and promoting prostitution offenses. As a registered sex offender in Kansas City, there are restrictions that the offender must adhere to, including:
Providing a DNA sample, photograph and palm print
Remaining at least 500 feet away from schools and daycare facilities
Providing common online usernames
Providing their address of residence and registering their address every 90 days with the state
Having a photograph of them on a website of registered sex offenders
Dependent on the severity of the sexual offense, other penalties for criminal sex crime convictions in Kansas City include incarceration in a state or federal penitentiary, fines, probation, and wearing a mandatory ankle monitoring bracelet.
Civil Sexual Abuse Case
Whether a sexual assault results in a criminal conviction or not, a civil case is also an option to victims. Additionally, if it is not possible to progress with a sex crime conviction in a criminal court, then survivors of sex crimes have the opportunity to seek justice through the Kansas City civil courts instead.
Although being convicted of the crime in a criminal court may make a civil case easier to pursue, the absence of a criminal conviction against the perpetrator does not negate the ability to seek legal recourse in civil court.
The focus of a civil case is centered around the victim and the impact that the sex crime has has on them. Two main legal theories guide civil sexual abuse cases, these relate to the intentional infliction of emotional distress, and assault and battery.
The focus of the case is to understand the effects of the crime and the damages that have occurred as a result, and to secure compensation for the victim. Damages in civil sexual abuse cases include, a loss of income, pain and suffering, emotional turmoil, depression, and more.
Typically, substantial damages are awarded to survivors of sexual assault in civil cases, however, these damages may not always be covered by the perpetrator’s insurance. Many insurance policies do not cover intentional acts. If this is the case, the extent of the damages that you receive may be limited to the amount of personal assets belonging to the perpetrator.
Third-Party Civil Sexual Abuse Cases
In cases where the amount of damages that you may receive for sexual offenses are severely impacted by the personal assets owned by the perpetrator, a third-party suit may be appropriate. If the incident occurred in the workplace, at school, or in a business, these entities may be found liable for not providing adequate supervision or security to avoid the incident from happening.
The failure to properly screen, train and supervise employees that commit sexual abuse, in addition to failing to protect victims from potential abuse, are often covered by insurance policies. Under these circumstances, you may be able to receive a higher amount of damages from the third-party.
Damages in Civil Sexual Abuse Cases
General damages: General damages are for the intangible losses of sexual abuse and provide monetary compensation for them. Including loss of quality of life, depression, emotional distress, and pain and suffering.
Economic damages: You can claim compensation for economic damages for the tangible costs of your experience as a result of sexual abuse. This includes medical bills and the costs of counseling and therapy, in addition to any lost wages from missed work.
Punitive damages: Punitive damages punish the defendant for wrongdoing and intend to make an example of them. You may also receive punitive damages, depending on the nature of the offense.
Wendt Law Attorneys Can Help Sex Crime Survivors
Our personal injury attorneys understand the sensitive and traumatic nature of sexual assault cases. We understand that everyone deals with these situations differently. When you feel ready, we are here to work alongside you to achieve compensation that recognizes the hardship and trauma that you have endured as a result of a sex crime.
Contact us today on 816-542-6734 for a free consultation to discuss securing compensation to help you move forward with your life.