The Aftermath Of Sexual Abuse In Alabama
Sexual crimes are some of the most serious that a person can commit. It is unfortunately common for victims to feel frightened or overwhelmed, thinking that no one will believe them or help them. These types of offenses are underreported for that reason, but with the right legal assistance on your side, all hope need not be lost.
During a time like this, you need an attorney who will listen to what you need and treat you like a human being instead of a victim or a case number. A Birmingham personal injury attorney from Goldasich, Vick & Fulk can offer compassionate and knowledgeable representation during what can be the hardest time in a person’s life.
Unfortunately Quite Common
Unfortunately, sexual abuse is more widespread than one wants to admit, and can affect anyone, from the youngest infants to the elderly in care facilities. Statistics from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) estimate that across the U.S., roughly 80 percent of women and 42 percent of men have experienced sexual harassment or abuse within their lifetime (the data on transgender and nonbinary individuals is limited as of this writing).
There are a handful of specifically enumerated sex crimes in the Alabama Code, but most unspecified sexual offenses that do not meet the criteria for rape will be classified as sexual abuse (though rape does fall under this umbrella as well, it is simply charged separately). Sexual abuse or misconduct can be a violent crime in the sense of it happening with immediate threats to a person’s safety, but it can also happen with a subtler, more insidious form of violence, threatening one’s sense of self.
Civil & Criminal Cases Possible
If you have been a victim of this kind of act, it is crucial for you to know that in most cases, it is possible to seek both criminal and civil charges. Because the two court systems are different, it does not trigger a person’s Fifth Amendment right against double jeopardy, and sex crimes are considered such a breach of the peace that the victim may be entitled to collect money damages in addition to any jail time their alleged abuser might serve. The state will handle the criminal prosecution, but filing a civil lawsuit is entirely up to you.
That said, understand that a civil lawsuit may have to wait until the criminal case has concluded, simply because of the standards of evidence. In a criminal case, a person must be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt – but in a civil case, a person can be found liable by a mere “preponderance of the evidence,” which is a much less stringent standard. Therefore, if a piece of evidence is admissible at a criminal trial, it will generally be admissible at a civil trial, unless certain exceptions apply. Waiting until the criminal trial is over can streamline your civil case in many situations.
You Are Not Alone – Our Attorneys Can Help
Being a victim of a sex offense can leave a person feeling paralyzed. The stress of a trial may feel like too much, but you have the right to seek both justice and money damages from someone who has wronged you in such an intimate way. The Birmingham sexual abuse attorneys from Goldasich, Vick & Fulk can help – contact our office today at (205) 731-2566 to schedule a consultation.