Victims of sexual assault in Pennsylvania or New Jersey are often at a loss as to what to do after the incidents. Many do nothing for multiple reasons, such as fear of being blamed. A sex assault victim who was drinking or doing drugs at the time of the assault may fear being blamed or may fear that no one would believe them and therefore does nothing after the assault. For example, in a date rape situation, the victim may fear that no one would believe her because she had been drinking, or she may believe that she is at fault.
Some victims do nothing due to other fears, such as fear of being deported or fear of losing a job. For example, an immigrant worker at a farm in New Jersey is raped by a fellow worker and does nothing because she fears losing her job or fears that she or a loved one might be deported.
These concerns and fears can often be overcome by speaking to a civil lawyer who can discuss the victim’s legal rights. Most of the time, the fears which may prevent a sex assault victim from coming forward can be resolved or in fact, will not affect the victim’s ability to seek justice.
Initial consultations for civil sex assault cases are almost always free, and the victim’s statements are confidential. For instance, a victim meets with a lawyer she is considering hiring. She tells the lawyer that she had taken drugs prior to the sexual assault. The lawyer is under an ethical and legal obligation not to reveal this fact unless authorized by the victim. Even if she chooses not to hire the lawyer, the lawyer cannot reveal the victim’s secrets (i.e., that she was high at the time of the assault).
In addition, there are two important reasons why someone who has been the victim of sexual assault should contact a lawyer.
First, if there is a criminal investigation, the lawyer can provide the victim with guidance and support during police interviews, etc. Half of the worry and anxiety is in dealing with law enforcement and district attorney’s offices. Victims are often worried about what they may be asked during interviews with law enforcement and often have other questions, such as what’s involved in the criminal process. Speaking to a lawyer often quells many of these questions.
Civil Rights (Filing a Civil Lawsuit for Compensation)
Second, the victim should be aware of their full legal rights under the law, and that includes a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator and/or others who allowed the assault to occur. In the example above with the immigrant worker, the employer may be liable and court ordered to pay financial compensation to the victim.
Under the laws of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, victims of sexual assault may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, etc.
Sex Assault Victims Lawyer & Former Prosecutor
Brian Kent is a former sex crimes unit prosecutor who now represents victims of sex abuse in the civil courts. For a free case review by Mr. Kent, please call the firm at 800.220.7600.
DISCLAIMER: This website does not create any attorney-client relationship or provide legal advice. It is crucial to speak to a qualified lawyer prior to making any decision about your case. Read full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.