Sexual assaults are traumatic and devastating experiences, and the physical and emotional effects often have life-long impacts on the victim. The experience can be especially devastating when children are the victims of sexual assault.
If you or a loved one has been sexually abused, contact a Tennessee sexual assault victim attorney today. Sexual assault victims may be entitled to monetary compensation for damages they have suffered. Perpetrators of sexual assault do not need to be held criminally responsible to be held financially responsible for the damages they inflicted. Though no monetary compensation cannot diminish the effects of a sexual assault, recovering damages can help with the recovery process by holding the perpetrator responsible.
Effects of Sexual Assault
According to the rape, abuse & incest national network,
- 1 out of every 6 American women (17.7 million women) has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape
- About 3% of American men have been the victim of an attempted or completed rape
- 15% of sexual assault and rape victims are under the age of 12
- 93% of juvenile sexual assault victims know their attacker
Victims of sexual assault are:
3 times more likely to suffer from depression
6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder
13 times more likely to abuse alcohol
26 times more likely to abuse drugs
4 times more likely to contemplate suicide
The term “sexual assault” includes any type of sexual activity that the individual did not agree to. It can refer to abuse that occurred once or repeatedly. Included in the term “sexual assault” are:
- Rape, or any act of intercourse against the will of the victim
- Child sexual abuse, lewd or lascivious acts against a minor
- Aggravated sexual abuse, or sexual abuse that involved a weapon, or was with a victim over the age of 60 or was handicap, or if drugs were used against the victim
If you or a loved one has been a victim of sexual abuse, you should speak with the police and file a criminal charge. You can also contact a personal injury attorney who can help you file a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator to attain damage compensation.
Negligence and Sexual Assault
If a sexual assault occurred while the victim was under the care or supervision of an institution or organization, the victim can hold that institution or organization responsible for negligently failing to uphold its duty to protect the victim. This type of claim is usually called “negligent security”.
Negligence claims in sexual assault are often used against organizations like schools, summer camps, nursing homes, and youth organizations. More than one party can be held liable for sexual assaults; victims can sue both the perpetrator and the associated organization.
Last December in Tennessee, a family filed a $37.5 million lawsuit against the Fellowship Bible Church in Williamson County after their toddler was sexually assaulted by a church volunteer. The church hid the incident from other members of the congregation, and tried to dissuade the family from filing a case.
Criminal vs. Civil Sexual Assault Charges
Victims of sexual assault can file a criminal and civil case against perpetrators. Criminal charges are filed through the government (the police) against the perpetrator. Civil charges are filed by the victim for the purpose of recovering monetary compensation for damages related to physical and mental injuries from the assault.
Criminal charges against perpetrators of sexual abuse depend on the type of the crime. Sexual battery is a Class E felony, resulting in a fine up to $3,000, or at least one year in prison, or both. Aggravated sexual battery (battery that results in bodily harm, was committed with extra force, or was committed against a child) is a Class B felony punishable by a fine of $25,000, or at leas eight years in prison, or both. Aggravated rape is a Class A felony punishable by a fine up to $50,000, or at least 15 years in prison, or both.
Victims can still file civil charges against the perpetrator of a sexual assault even if the perpetrator never faced criminal proceedings or if the perpetrator faced criminal proceedings but charges were dropped. Though the results of a criminal case will factor into awards for a civil case, the civil case is still possible even if the criminal case does not result in conviction.
Filing a Sexual Assault Claim in Tennessee
Tennessee law holds the perpetrator of sexual assault responsible for monetary compensation for injuries to the victim. All perpetrators of sexual abuse are held equal under Tennessee law, whether the perpetrator is a stranger, an acquaintance, or a spouse.
Tennessee has a “Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund” to help pay for the damages incurred by victims of violent crimes. This fund can help pay for a variety of costs related to injuries of violent crimes or sexual assaults, including medical bills, lost wages, or any other financial losses related to the injury.
There is a strict statute of limitations, or filing deadline, to receive this compensation. If you have suffered physical, financial, or emotional injuries as the result of a sexual assault you should speak to a skilled personal injury attorney who understands these deadlines.
The statute of limitations is different for children who suffered a sexual assault. Consult an attorney to learn more about the time limitations for your case.
Tennessee Sexual Assault Personal Injury Attorney
The Law Offices of Luvell L. Glanton understand how stressful and traumatizing it can be for victims of sexual assault to file cases against the perpetrator. Our staff will hold abusers and associated organizations accountable. If you or a loved one has suffered a sexual assault, call our offices today at 615-244-4511 to schedule a free consultation.