Empowering Survivors Who Have Experienced Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse is a serious topic and requires attention and action. By acknowledging the seriousness of sexual abuse, we can foster a culture of empathy, support, and accountability.
It is important to provide survivors with a safe space to share their experiences, be heard, and receive the support they need. Education and awareness play a vital role in challenging harmful stereotypes, promoting consent, and undoing the societal norms that prolong sexual abuse.
Types of Sexual Abuse
Sexual assault is a form of sexual violence that can involve a wide range of behaviors that are unwanted, non-consensual, or coerced. There may be several different causes of action that could be pursued in a case. These are some common types of sexual assault and related causes of action:
- Sexual Battery
- Sexual Harassment
- Statutory Rape
- Human trafficking
- Revenge porn
- Assault and Battery
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Signs and Symptoms of Abuse
Child abuse is a difficult topic to discuss, but it’s essential to be aware of the signs and symptoms so you can take action to protect yourself and your child. Here are some ways to know if you were abused as a child or if your child is being abused:
Signs of abuse in adults abused as children:
- Emotional symptoms: Despair, anxiety, PTSD, and trouble with relationships
- Physical symptoms: Chronic pain, headaches, digestive issues, sexual dysfunction, and or pain during intercourse
- Behavioral symptoms: Substance abuse, self-harm, and risky sexual behavior
Signs of abuse in minors:
- Physical abuse: Unexpected bruises, wounds, or burns, and hesitant to physical contact
- Sexual abuse: Inability to stand/remain still, unusually advanced sexual knowledge for a person their age and genital pain or bleeding
- Emotional abuse: Low self-esteem, fear, depression, withdrawal from friends and family
- Neglect: Malnutrition, poor cleanliness, untreated medical conditions, or unexplained absences from school
Differences Between Civil and Criminal Sexual Abuse
Civil and criminal sexual abuse have different objectives and different potential outcomes. The burden of proof in civil cases is generally lower than in a criminal case.
In a civil case, the plaintiff must establish their claim by a preponderance of evidence, which means the evidence presented must demonstrate that it is more likely than not (at least 51% certainty) that the allegations made are true.
In a criminal case, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed the crime. This means that the evidence presented must be so convincing that there is no question (at least 91% certainty) in the minds of the jury or judge that the accused is guilty.
Statute of Limitations for Seeking Justice
The statute of limitations (SOL) differs depending on the state, type of offense, and process of legal action. As with all other types of offenses, sexual abuse survivors are required to follow their state’s statute of limitations when seeking legal action.
In Nevada, the statute of limitations is 20 years from the date the survivor reaches majority age to file a lawsuit against an abuser. However, if other actions are involved, there may be no statute of limitations. In a civil case for damages in Nevada, it is considered conclusive proof if your attacker was found guilty of a crime connected to your sexual assault.
Adult sexual assault victims in Nevada have much less time than children to bring legal action against their attackers. They must file a claim within two years from the date of their injuries.
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Know Someone Who has Experienced Sexual Abuse?
If you are dealing with a sexual assault case, it is important to hire an experienced lawyer, like those at Van Law Firm. Sexual assault cases are complicated and emotionally difficult, and having one of our seasoned attorneys by your side makes all the difference.
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