Sex Assault Victims
Florida Attorneys for Sex Assault Victims
Whittel & Melton
Florida Trial Lawyers for Victims of Sex Abuse
866-608-5529 Tampa, St. Petersburg, Gainesville, Miami, Orlando, Ocala
Sexual violence is something that affects thousands of victims in the United States alone every single year. Statistics from RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) show that since 1993 the number of violent sex crimes has dropped by more than half, but even with that progress only 5 out of 1,000 abusers will spend time behind bars.
In the United States, someone is the victim of a sexual attack every 73 seconds. According to RAINN, every 9 minutes the victim is a child.
Anyone can be the victim of sexual violence. Here is the breakdown of the number of people who are the victims of sexual violence in the U.S. each year:
- 60,000 children are the victims of some form of sexual abuse
- 433,648 Americans are the victims of sexual assault or rape
- 80,600 of Americans incarcerated are victims of rape or sexual assault
- 18,900 U.S. military are victims of unwanted or forced sexual contact
The first thing that you must do is after a sexual attack is to make your safety a priority. Getting yourself out of danger is the most important thing to accomplish. Once you have gotten yourself to a safe place, the following are important steps to take:
- Get medical care from a doctor. Just like your safety, your health is a top priority. Most medical facilities have nurses, doctors, and other staff trained to collect evidence from sex assault victims. While you may not know if you want to press charges immediately following a sexual assault, it is best to let medics collect any evidence before it is gone so that if you do decide to pursue a case against your attacker, you have the best chance of achieving justice.
- Report your attack. After being violated, it can be quite difficult to tell anyone what happened. You may still be in disbelief or shock yourself. It is important to know that you did nothing wrong, and even if you feel embarrassed or ashamed, it can help to talk about your emotions with someone. If you are not ready to talk to police, then you can always reach out to RAINN 24/7 through their National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673). Your communications with them are anonymous and they will not ask for your name or address, so you can get the support, advice, and information you need.
- Keep the clothes you were wearing at the time of the attack. This is important evidence, even if you do not report the crime or seek medical care right away. The clothes you were wearing during the attack or any other evidence that could be valuable should be safely preserved in the event you do decide to file a report.
- Contact us. When you are ready to hold your abuser responsible, reach out to our Sex Assault Victims Lawyers at Whittel & Melton so that we can assist with your civil claim. You are not required to have filed a police report against your attacker in order to pursue a civil lawsuit for sexual assault. Nevertheless, Law Enforcement involvement is consistently found in the autopsy of successful cases. We are experienced in handling these types of cases and we want you to know that we are fully committed to helping you regain your voice and your strength.
There are two different justice systems in the U.S.: criminal and civil. The criminal justice system is one where the prosecutor will decide whether or not to charge a person with a sex crime. If the person is charged and found guilty, then they may be sent to jail or prison and suffer other criminal consequences. The civil justice system, on the other hand, allows survivors of sex crimes to bring claims against their abusers seeking financial damages. If the person you are seeking monetary damages from was found guilty in the criminal justice system this can help your case, but even if they were not, then you may still be able to hold your attacker liable for certain things like your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and all other damages related to your attack.
Our Florida Sex Assault Victims Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can walk you through what to expect from your civil lawsuit against your abuser and make sure you fully understand your legal rights. We will always be upfront and honest with you about the expectations of your case.
Whittel & Melton | Florida Trial Advocacy for Victims of Sexual Harassment & Abuse 866-608-5529 West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Sarasota, Naples, JacksonvilleWhat is the Statute of Limitations on a Sexual Assault Claim in Florida?
We know that choosing to share your story with the world can be a difficult decision to make. We also know that recounting the events of your assault can feel like you were violated all over again. We want to make sure that you know that even if you are not ready to pursue legal action, it is vital to preserve your rights before the statute of limitations expires. Florida has laws on how long a victim of sexual assault, rape, incest, etc, has to file a civil lawsuit, which are outlined below:
- The victim must bring action within 7 years from reaching the age of 18.
- The victim must bring action within 4 years from the time a link is found between an injury and the abuse, or within a 4 year window from when the victim stops depending on their abuser.
- If the abuse was done to a minor under the age of 18, there is no statute of limitations.
In June of 2020, Florida passed “Donna’s Law,” which removes the statute of limitations for child sex assault victims under the age of 18. This law will affect crimes that were committed on July 1, 2020, and all those after.
While these laws can be confusing, there are exceptions, and we can make sure you fully understand how to proceed. We encourage you to reach out to us and see what we can do to help you achieve a sense of justice from your attacker. While we can’t make any guarantees in regards to how your case will play out, we can assure you that we only have your best interests in mind.What can I do if my Child has Been Sexually Abused?
Parents do everything humanly possible to protect their children from harm. Finding out that your chid has been the victim of sexual abuse can be devastating. You are likely feeling a combination of anger, helplessness, and guilt. Learning that your child has been abused by someone you know or someone you thought you could trust can make you feel as if you are suffocating. We understand because we are parents, too. Our Florida Sex Assault Victims Lawyers at Whittel & Melton have handled numerous cases involving children being sexually abused or assualted in Florida. We understand the hurt and pain you're experiencing and want to provide you with an outlet to unleash your rage and grief. While we cannot reverse the tragic events that your child suffered, we can fight aggressively to make sure that your child has the best possible future. We welcome and encourage you to contact us right away to learn more about filing a claim against:
- Teachers, administrators, school volunteers, and other staff members
- The school district
- Foster parents
- Child Protective Services
- Church or Clergy members and staff
- Sports coaches
- Boy Scouts of America or other child organizations
- Other children or students
- Daycare centers and staff members
- Any other mandated reporters who failed your child
We get asked this question a lot, and the short answer is yes. The State will handle all criminal proceedings against a sexual assault offender, but victims will need an attorney to help build their civil claim. The criminal case will focus on sentencing the offender while the civil lawsuit will work towards recovering financial compensation for the victim’s damages related to the abuse they suffered.
Having the right attorney on your side can make a huge difference in the outcome of your Florida sexual assault case. Our Florida Sex Assault Victims Lawyers at Whittel & Melton will make arrangements for support services and other resources so that you can get the proper help you need to heal physically, mentally, and emotionally. In addition to handling all of your legal needs, we are here to provide you with a support system and help you. We handle all types of sexual assault cases, including but not limited to:
- Uber and Lyft sexual assaults
- Sexual assaults on elementary, middle, high school, and college campuses
- Adult survivors of abuse
- Rape victims
- Sexual harassment at school or work
- Sexual assault at work
- Sexual abuse in youth organizations
- Sexual assault in religious organizations
- Sexual abuse by family members
- Teacher-student sexual abuse
Call us today at 866-608-5529 or contact us 24/7 online for a free consultation with us. We want to put our legal skills and resources to work for you and your case. Reclaiming the power of your own life starts by coming forward and telling the truth about what happened to you. Let us help you share your experience.