8 Resources for Survivors of Sexual Assault - Sexual Assault Survivors Can Seek Justice in Civil Court

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8 Resources for Survivors of Sexual Assault

8 Resources for Survivors of Sexual Assault

Sep 28, 2020

If you or someone you love is a survivor of sexual assault and in search of support resources, we are here to help point you in the right direction. Sexual assault can be highly traumatizing, leading to multiple lifelong effects that can prove extremely challenging and burdensome. Accordingly, survivors may want to consider setting up a support network to help them through the healing process. Support resources come in many forms, such as physical, emotional, or even legal (via civil lawsuits pursuing financial compensation for damages).

Trauma such as sexual assault is often easier to cope with when you have a reliable support system in place. Below we have compiled a list of helpful resources for sexual assault survivors, such as peer support, crisis hotlines, and victims’ rights information. And if you or someone you love would like to successfully pursue justice through the legal system, Dordulian Law Group (“DLG”) is here to help. DLG has an experienced team of sexual assault lawyers who are ready to guide you through the entire process with the care, attention, and support you deserve. Filing a sexual assault civil lawsuit and receiving compensation for the trauma and harm you senselessly endured can be validating and helpful for a survivor.

What is Sexual Assault?

The term ‘sexual assault’ covers a range of unwanted sexual behavior and contact. Sexual assault occurs when the survivor has not given consent, yet the perpetrator still engages in sexual contact or behavior. Importantly, if a survivor is either too young, not in the right mind, or unable to give consent for any reason, then consent has technically not been granted under the law, and the perpetrator has committed assault.

The United States Department of Justice defines sexual assault as “any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.” Sexual assault can be an ‘umbrella term’ that includes sexual behavior such as rape, fondling, attempted rape, voyeurism, etc.

Ultimately, sexual assault is never acceptable. It is an act of violence and should never affect an innocent victim. If you or a loved one are a survivor of sexual assault, you may benefit from some of the following suggested support resources:

Sexual Assault Prevention Resources

It is imperative to understand and accept that sexual assault is NEVER the survivor’s fault. No specific action on the part of a survivor causes them to be sexually assaulted. No one is ever “asking for it,” or partially responsible for an experience with sexual violence. However, there are some resources that can help educate you on methods for avoiding dangerous situations, and help you recognize when an increased risk for sexual assault may be present. There are also resources for communities at large to help prevent sexual violence in their local areas. Some of these resources include:

  • The CDC has a “STOP SVguidebook that explains strategies to help communities prevent or reduce sexual violence. The acronym “STOP SV” stands for certain strategies:
    • Promote Social norms that protect against violence (such as mobilizing men and boys as allies);
    • Teach skills to prevent sexual violence (such as teaching intimate relationship skills to adolescents and promoting healthy sexuality);
    • Provide Opportunities to empower and support girls and women (such as increasing leadership opportunities for young girls);
    • Create Protective environments (such as enhancing safety monitoring in schools); and
    • Support Victims/Survivors to lessen harm (such as psychological treatment for survivors of sexual violence).
  • The National Panhellenic Conference put together a Toolkit for Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention.
  • RAINN has a webpage dedicated to sexual violence “safety and prevention” that has multiple links to other resources and discusses many topics, such as what parents and college campuses can do to help prevent sexual assault.
  • Colleges and Universities, such as Cornell College, also have information on sexual assault risk reduction strategies on their websites.

Our Sexual Assault Justice Experts are here to help survivors secure justice. Contact our top-rated attorneys online or by phone for a free consultation today.

8 Important Sexual Assault Survivor Resources

Survivors of sexual assault have endured a highly traumatic experience in which their control was abhorrently stolen by the perpetrator. Therefore, it can be very important to re-empower through encouraging survivors to make decisions and take steps towards whatever their preferred healing process may entail. This can involve taking legal action, getting mental health support, seeking medical care, peer support, and more. Below is a list of some organizations that specialize in helping survivors and offer various resource options:

  1. RAINN has a National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline that offers confidential support and crisis assistance. RAINN recently released an App that offers survivors of sexual assault, and their family or friends, support, self-care tools, and general information to help cope with the effects of trauma. RAINN also posts “survivor stories” so survivors can understand they are not alone and potentially receive some advice on healing and coping.
  2. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) is dedicated to helping survivors of sexual violence. They can connect survivors with resources specific to their area, and the NSVRC website has specific information on healing after surviving a sexual assault.
  3. California’s Victim’s Compensation Board has a specific section in their “Victim’s Resources” page for sexual assault survivors that links to additional, California-specific resources.
  4. The California Coalition Against Sexual Assault has advocacy, prevention, and survivor-based resources. They also have a webpage with detailed information about survivor rights. All of the Coalition’s webpages have a “Get Help” button in the top righthand section that takes browsers to a page with a list of sexual assault agencies, outreach offices, crisis lines, etc.
  5. Victim Connect resource center has information on victims’ rights, self-care, financial assistance, and even an online chat feature.
  6. The Sexual Assault Demonstrative Initiative wrote a recent report that lists many online support resources, such as peer support groups like After Silence.
  7. The Anti-Violence Project offers a hotline, counseling, and support groups for survivors of various types of violence, including sexual assault.
  8. A report on Common Feelings of Survivors of Sexual Assault explains in great detail some emotions survivors often experience, and how to cope with the feelings.

Remember that not all resources are right for everyone; survivors may find some types of support helpful and others not so helpful. Therapy and peer support groups may benefit one survivor and be too intensive for another. It is important to find the specific type of support that is right for you.

If you have questions about what type of support or resources might be best for you, please consider contacting a member of our SAJE Team (Sexual Assault Justice Experts). We are available 24/7 to answer any questions you have and provide you with direct support – regardless of whether or not you wish to pursue a civil lawsuit against your perpetrator. We’re here for all survivors because we believe in supporting those who have been victimized in any way possible.

Sexual Assault Survivors Can Seek Justice in Civil Court

Sexual Assault Survivors Can Seek Justice in Civil Court

Although a perpetrator of sexual assault is sometimes criminally prosecuted, these prosecutions focus on punishing the perpetrator rather than compensating the survivor. Therefore, a survivor can bring a lawsuit in civil court and seek justice on their own terms, with a goal of recovering financial compensation for damages. As a plaintiff in a sexual assault civil lawsuit, a survivor can receive compensation for trauma they suffered directly or indirectly from the sexual assault.

Sexual assault is a civil legal claim under California Civil Code Section 1708.5. For the purposes of a sexual assault claim, it is often referred to as “sexual battery,” which occurs when the perpetrator engages in harmful or offensive sexual contact, or when the victim is placed in imminent fear of such contact. Consent is also an important component of sexual assault cases. A survivor of sexual assault did not give consent for the sexual contact from, or behavior of, the perpetrator.

At DLG, we have recovered over $100 million for our clients, the majority of which have been sexual assault survivors. If you are ready to take the first step towards pursuing justice and recovering financial damages against your attacker, contact us today to discuss your case and the type of compensation you may be eligible to receive.

Compensation For Sexual Assault Survivors

A plaintiff survivor in a sexual assault case can sue for money damages for various types of harm suffered. A survivor could get compensation for sexual assault related expenses such as physical therapy, past and future medical bills, psychological therapy, lost wages from missed work, pain and suffering, loss of companionship, etc. Survivors can also obtain punitive damages, whereby the court awards additional money to punish the perpetrator for causing harm to the survivor.

How Long After The Sexual Assault Occurred Can a Survivor Sue?

Once the statute of limitations expires, a survivor can no longer sue the sexual assault perpetrator in civil court. A statute of limitations is a law that dictates the maximum amount of time after an offense that an affected survivor can bring a lawsuit. The statute of limitations varies based on the type of civil offense (i.e. assault, battery, negligence, etc.).

In California, the statute of limitations for a civil sexual assault claim is based on the age of the sexual assault survivor. For adults, the statute of limitations is ten years after the last act or attempted act of sexual assault; or three years from the date the plaintiff discovers, or reasonably should have discovered, an injury that resulted from defendant’s act or attempted act of sexual assault (Assembly Bill No. 1619).

For sexual assault survivors who were children (less than eighteen-years-old) at the time of the assault, the survivor has until age forty; or five years from the date of discovery of the abuse, to bring a civil lawsuit (California Code of Civil Procedure Section 340.1).

For a limited time, under AB 218 all childhood sexual assault survivors are eligible to file a civil claim regardless of how long ago the crime occurred. The bill’s limited three-year lookback window clause allows any survivor to file a claim in pursuit of a financial damages award until December 31, 2022. After that deadline, however, the lookback window expires and the standard statute of limitations resumes. Childhood sexual assault survivors over 40 years of age who do not take advantage of the AB 218 lookback window and file a claim immediately will be left without legal recourse after January 1, 2023.

If you or a loved one is a survivor of sexual assault and have decided you are interested in pursuing legal action, contact DLG as soon as possible to be put in contact with one of our award-winning, top-rated sexual assault lawyers. Once the statute of limitations runs out, you will have no legal recourse. Contact us today at 800-880-7777 to ensure your claim is filed properly and within all required deadlines.

DLG is Here to Help With Sexual Assault Claims

We encourage survivors of child sexual assault to seek help through the resources listed above, and we are also here to help if survivors want to seek justice on their own terms through the legal process. If a survivor decides to pursue legal recourse for an instance of sexual assault, it is critical that they have competent and compassionate legal counsel like that provided by DLG and the SAJE Team.

Dordulian Law Group (“DLG”) specializes in sexual assault cases and is California’s leading firm for survivors due to our unique team of expert professionals in this area of the law: our Sexual Assault Justice Experts (SAJE) Team. DLG provides every survivor with the four-tiered support of our SAJE Team. This is precisely what makes DLG the most trusted, top-rated choice for sexual abuse survivors in Los Angeles and throughout California. DLG’s SAJE team ensures that survivors are provided with a special type of representation and support which cannot be found elsewhere in the Los Angeles or greater-California legal community.

If you believe you have a sexual abuse case and wish to pursue a claim, don’t hesitate to contact our award-winning expert attorneys online or by phone today.

Samuel Dordulian, DLG’s founder, was formerly the Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County. In this role he served as the lead sex crimes prosecutor, and successfully obtained many lifetime sentences against some of the city’s most loathsome and heinous sexual predators.

Today, Dordulian leads the SAJE Team in representing survivors of all types of sexual assault, ensuring they receive the best legal representation and support available, ultimately securing justice via the largest possible financial damages award for you.

DLG’s sexual abuse attorneys are more than prepared to help survivors of sexual assault who are ready to take legal action against the perpetrator of their harm and trauma. At DLG, we ensure that survivors are taken care of both legally and emotionally. We are available seven days a week to take your call and answer any questions about sexual abuse cases in California. To speak with a Los Angeles sexual abuse attorney, sexual assault lawyer, or sexual harassment lawyer at DLG about your case, please call us at 800-880-7777 or fill out our case evaluation form.

Go See Sam