Understanding what happens during a sexual abuse investigation and knowing what to expect can make it easier to report the abuse and pursue your case. The investigation may proceed differently depending on whether it is a criminal or civil case, when you reported the abuse, and the abuser’s relationship to you.
Our legal team can answer your questions in this article or during an initial consultation. Do not hesitate to call our Las Vegas sexual abuse lawyer to discuss your case. Our free consultations are confidential, and there is no obligation to pursue legal action.
What Evidence Is Available During a Sexual Abuse Investigation?
When there is a sexual abuse investigation, evidence might be gathered from the victim, witnesses, and the scene where the abuse occurred. For a criminal investigation, the alleged perpetrator could also be brought in for questioning. This procedure could also occur as part of a civil lawsuit.
The evidence gathered in these cases often includes:
- DNA evidence, often from a sexual assault forensic exam (rape kit)
- Documentation of injuries, including bruises, lacerations, and defensive wounds
- Eyewitness statements
- Victim statements
- Video footage
- Relevant medical records
- Reports from other survivors (if available)
- Any evidence showing the organization or institution was aware of the abuse
When sex abuse claims come out years after the abuse, it limits the available evidence. However, this does not mean we cannot get justice for sexual abuse survivors. Our attorneys can build compelling cases for our clients, even if years have passed since they endured the abuse. We also manage the entire legal process and support them throughout their cases.
For a free legal consultation, call (725) 900-9000
What Role does the Survivor’s Account Play in a Sexual Abuse Case?
When we develop a client’s sexual abuse civil case, the survivor’s statement plays a key role in building a compelling case to hold the perpetrator and any involved organizations or institutions accountable. We can collect and present our client’s side of the story in several ways in these cases, including the following:
- A written statement
- A video statement
- A deposition given under oath
- Testimony at trial
As sexual abuse lawyers, we understand that discussing your experience and details about the abuse you survived could be difficult. We aim to make this process as easy as possible. This includes discussing what to include, providing a list of possible questions, and answering your questions and concerns.
In many cases, the survivor’s account of what happened is the most essential piece of evidence. This is especially true when no forensic or biological evidence can confirm that the abuse occurred, which is often the case when adults report childhood sexual abuse.
What Should I Know About the Physical Examination as Part of a Sexual Abuse Investigation?
A sexual assault examination, often called a rape kit, is standard procedure for law enforcement conducting a criminal investigation following a rape or sexual assault allegation. This must be done in the first 24 to 72 hours after an assault occurs. Beyond this time frame, there is likely little biological evidence available that could support the case.
A doctor or nurse usually handles the medical exam a rape kit requires. They are specially trained to handle this exam, which focuses on collecting forensic or biological evidence, treating injuries, and testing for sexually transmitted diseases.
If you do not report the abuse for several weeks, months, or even years, there is no need to undergo this exam. However, not taking the exam or having exam results can make it harder to hold the at-fault party accountable. Without an exam, no biological evidence supports your account of events. If this is your situation, having a survivor’s statement and your deposition or testimony becomes even more important.
The Role of a Sexual Abuse Attorney in an Investigation
Our sexual abuse legal team can investigate what happened and build a compelling case based on the abuse you endured. When our sexual abuse attorneys take on a civil case, we aim to:
- Build a compelling case against the at-fault parties
- Recover compensation for all damages our client suffered
- Empower sexual abuse survivors to pursue recovery
- Help prevent future generations from experiencing abuse
Our investigation into what happened plays a key role in achieving these goals. Often, the police have taken steps to hold the perpetrator criminally responsible. This could include taking statements from our client and other witnesses and gathering biological evidence. If so, we can obtain this evidence or have an officer testify in the case.
What Happens If a Survivor doesn’t Report the Abuse Right Away?
Sometimes, the abuse isn’t reported to the police, or too much time has passed for a criminal investigation. This makes our investigation the only chance for gathering evidence. In addition, we often pursue a case against the organization, institution, or other group that protected the perpetrator or allowed abuse to occur and continue.
This is not always a part of the criminal investigation. For example, there are ongoing cases in other parts of the country against churches, civic organizations, schools, sports clubs, and more. We may be able to hold the liable organization responsible for your abuse and recover compensation for you, even if the individual perpetrator has died or cannot pay your financial losses.
Your Sexual Abuse Case Could Have a Deadline, Depending on Your State
We will also advise you of any statute of limitations that apply to your case. These deadlines determine how long you have to file legal action. Some states recently ended time limits on sexual abuse cases. In Nevada, for example, Senate Bill 129 (SB129) removed time limits on sexual abuse when it was signed into law in June 2023.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now
Discuss Your Legal Options With Our Sex Abuse Attorneys for Free – Call Today
Van Law represents sex abuse survivors in Las Vegas and Washington state.
Our attorneys fight for justice for survivors regardless of when they endured assault, rape, or other sexual abuse. We pursue civil cases against perpetrators and the organizations or institutions that allowed the abuse to occur.
Our client testimonials show that our attorneys have the experience, knowledge, resources, and reputation necessary to pursue justice for our clients and win. We work based on a contingency fee.
Not only are our initial consultations free, but you will never pay upfront fees for us to work on your case. Contact us now to get started. Our expert legal team is standing by to walk you through the details of your case. Let us fight for you to earn the compensation and justice you deserve.
No obligation consultations are always free.Let Us Help You! Call Now: (725) 900-9000
These guys are amazing. Helped me throughout the process. Always there when I need help. Inititailly called a law firm (the one that has lots of ads on the radio), but they declined my case. Van Law Firm accepted my case without a second thought! Kudos to Daniel, my case manager, and Amanda who expedited my payment process. Highly recommended.Milby Mags
Got in an accident at the beginning of the year and they have been awesome, especially with it being my first accident and me being like this. They have been very communicated, stayed in contact with me the whole time, giving me updates when there were any and even when there weren’t and answered any question I had. I would recommend them to anyone. Everyone I have talked to there has been very friendly. I would give them a 10 out of 10.Ethan Gullet
They made sure that my insurance company covered what I paid for them to which included the gap for my car that was totaled. My medical costs were taken care of and reduced substantially so I was able to get more on my settlement. My case manager, Will Garcia, was always helpful in assisting me and answering any questions I had. They really did an amazing job with my case. I would definitely recommend them to anyone in need of this type of legal help. Most lawyers do not help you with the recovery of the car and rental etc. They are amazing.Teresa Cuthbertson