Sexual abuse is a criminal act taking several forms, harming children, adults, and the elderly. Those who have been sexually abused need to contact a Holiday sexual abuse lawyer to protect their rights and hold the abuser responsible for damages under civil law. A compassionate personal injury lawyer can help you seek the damages you deserve for the harm you have sustained. They can help you gather the necessary evidence and can advocate for you.
Legal Definition of Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse happens when a person who is in a position of authority or power over someone exploits their trust and respect to engage in sexual behavior. Sexual abuse often happens between a student and teacher, a patient and doctor, a parishioner and priest, a child and an adult, and a child and an older child. Sexual abuse can also occur between married couples.
The difference between sexual abuse and sexual assault is that abuse by a trusted person can extend for long periods of time. Assault is a use of force or the threat of force for sexual gratification for a short time against a person who does not want sexual contact.
Forms of Sexual Abuse
Acts of sexual abuse include:
- Nonconsensual physical sex
- Nonconsensual demands
- Unwelcomed touching
- Fondling and kissing
- Exposing genitalia
- Making suggestive comments to a child
- Showing a child pornography
Proving Sexual Abuse
In civil law, Florida’s comparative negligence is the applicable law. To prove negligence, a Holiday sexual abuse lawyer needs to prove that the defendant had a legal duty not to cause harm to someone; that the act of abuse breached that duty and caused the harm from which monetary damages resulted in such a psychological counseling.
Criminal sexual abuse convictions can be used as evidence against the defendant in civil cases. The state must prove that sexual contact did happen, that the contact was intentional, and that the other person did not give consent. A civil case is determined by a preponderance of the evidence and criminal cases use the stricter beyond a reasonable doubt standard.
Statute of Limitations in Sexual Abuse Cases
Florida law sets a time limit to file a lawsuit. Those who do not file in time forever waive their right to sue in the matter. The time limit is four years from the date of abuse, but if the victim is a child the time limit is seven years after the victim reaches age 18.
A victim who was dependent upon the abuser has four years to sue beginning when leaving the abuser, and the victim can be older than 25. Four years also begins from the date the emotional or physical injury was discovered, which is called the delayed discovery rule. It may be critical to speak with a Holiday sexual abuse lawyer before proceeding with a lawsuit.
In sexual abuse cases, the victim’s harm is usually psychological and emotional. Treatments can be claimed as well as non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and mental anguish.
Contacting a Lawyer
To get started, a Holiday sexual abuse lawyer can suggest that the abused victim or the families of children and the infirm arrange for the lawyer’s free consultation. Your attorney can answer questions and weighs the facts to determine if your civil lawsuit can win damages.