Sexual Assault Lawyers in DC, MD, and VA
Many victims of sexual assault will choose not to report the offense or pursue legal action against their perpetrators for many reasons. This is not difficult to understand, as a sexual abuse experience can have long-term physical, mental, and emotional repercussions. Here at Ashcraft & Gerel Law Firm, we completely understand. If you or a loved one has been a victim of sexual violence, you deserve access to an experienced and committed sexual assault lawyer who is on your side.
As a sexual abuse victim, you may feel that you are on trial yourself. The other party may try to prove your partial or full participation in the crime or tarnish your credibility in an effort to weaken your case.
It is at this point that you need all the legal support you can get. We will provide you with a sexual assault attorney working in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC who is prepared to hear your story, present you with options and ensure that you get committed legal support at this most crucial time.
Rely on Sexual Assault Attorneys in DC, MD, and VA
The United States Department of Justice defines sexual assault as sexual contact or conduct performed by one individual on another who has not stated any explicit consent. Therefore, rape is just one type of sexual assault. The act encompasses a variety of sexual activities such as touching, fondling, forcing another to perform sexual acts, attempted rape, and actual rape.
These assaults can take place anytime and anywhere. Sexual assault lawyers often discover through client testimonies that the abuse, in fact, took place in their homes, in their work cubicles, in the office pantry, or even in the house of the perpetrator. It is a myth to say that sexual offenses always take place in dark, unfamiliar places such as corner streets or alleys.
If you are confused about your position as a victim of sexual abuse, a trusted sexual assault attorney in DC, MD and VA can help you legally and emotionally.
Statistically speaking, most victims personally know their offenders prior to the instance of crime. Despite this, you should know that you are still within legal bounds to take legal action even if you have been assaulted by someone you know, someone you work with, or someone more privileged than you are.
A good first step is to choose a legal counsel you can trust. Here at Ashcraft & Gerel Law Firm, our sexual assault lawyers have the knowledge, experience, and resources needed in helping you file criminal charges or a civil suit against your attacker.
Learn More About Statewide Statistics from Your Sexual Assault Lawyer
The instances of sexual assault in America are more frequent than most people realize. A statistical report from RAINN or the Rape Abuse Incest National Network shows that one American is assaulted every 98 seconds.
Of these victims, many are children or minors. With an approximation of 293 sexual cases of abuse occurring in the United States per year, only 68% find their way into police records. Out of 1,000 sexual offenders, only six will serve jail time according to statistics and as corroborated by sexual assault attorneys.
In a recent report by online statistics portal Statista, California leads in the number of reported forcible rape cases for 2016 at 13,702. Washington, DC, ranks twelfth with 3,077 reported cases, while Virginia and Maryland have 2,737 and 1,756 reported cases, respectively.
These numbers show two facts: (1) Sex abuse cases reach up to thousands on an annual basis in the States and (2) Only a little more than half of these cases are actually reported to a sexual assault lawyer.
Reporting your sexual assault will significantly improve the chances that the offender will be apprehended or be demanded to pay the full amount in compensation. Your sexual assault attorney should be able to explain not only the requirements of filing a criminal or civil charge, but also its benefits.
Ashcraft & Gerel sexual assault lawyers will take serious steps to begin and end your case in the best way possible.
Talking with Your Sexual Assault Lawyer in DC, MD, and VA Can Help You Deal with Confusion
The assumption that only women are victims of sexual attacks is untrue. Although male victims are fewer in number than women victims, men are still being subjected to abuse. It is essential to remember that sexual assault is defined by the lack of explicit consent and the unfair use of force. A reliable sexual assault attorney will remind you that anyone can fall victim to these abuses.
The National Statistics on Sexual Violence reports that out of four women and out of six men, one will have experienced a sexual assault at least once in their lives. One out of 33 men will have struggled against attempted rape or actual rape at least once in their lifetime.
And in a report by the Rape Abuse Incest National Network (RAINN), male college students are up to five times more likely to be a sexual assault victim than non-students. A higher number of transgender students are sexual assault victims.
No matter what gender you identify with, you can still file a complaint with your sexual assault lawyer. Your legal representation can further discuss with you the many falsehoods as regards to sexual violence and what can be done about it.
The Essential Sexual Assault Myths
Unfortunately, there are still a lot of false claims surrounding sexual violence. The Office on Violence Against Women by the U.S. Department of Justice has put together a list of debunked myths about sexual assault.
If you are a victim, you may consult further with your sexual assault lawyer on these falsehoods.
Some of these myths are enumerated below:
Myth 1: An individual’s promiscuous dress or action will inevitably invite sexual assault.
A short skirt or a flirty demeanor does not necessarily translate to a sexual invitation. Remember, an act qualifies as sexual assault if the victim did not explicitly state his or her consent to the act or force.
Myth 2: A victim will have prevented sexual violence if he or she did not leave home.
As already mentioned, an attack has nothing to do with location. Many victims have experienced assaults in their own homes. In fact, even if someone goes into the house of someone, this should not be construed as an invitation or consent to engage in sexual activity.
Myth 3: If the individual drinks or takes drugs, he or she cannot cry foul over a sexual assault.
The consumption of alcohol or taking of drugs is not considered as a cause of sexual abuse. It is a criminal act for someone to use alcohol or drugs for the purpose of subduing and forcing the victim to engage in a sexual act.
Myth 4: To prove sexual assault, a victim must exhibit hysteria.
It is wrong to assume that simply because someone is quiet, he or she could not possibly be a victim of sexual assault. Different people react differently to sexual violence. Silence does not invalidate or disprove a person’s experience of abuse.
Myth 5: For a sexual assault to be credible, it must be reported immediately to the authorities.
The time it takes for a victim to file a report does not correlate to the validity or authenticity of his or her sexual assault claim. Many victims, in fact, choose not to report the attack because of trauma, fear of retaliation or worry that they may lose their jobs.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, victims of sexual violence may report their complaints at any time, whether it is directly following the incident, weeks or months later, or even already years after the incident.
There are parties which may be held liable in a sexual violence case other than just the perpetrator or perpetrators. Most of the time, the offender may be an employee of the same company where the victim is also working or maybe a student of a specific college or university. Certain rules and limitations apply when determining whether an office or a school can be held accountable for a sexual assault complaint. This is why it is best to seek advice from your sexual assault attorney on these matters.
An Employers’ Accountability for Sexual Assault
The perpetrator’s position in the company primarily determines your employer’s liability. If you were assaulted by someone who serves as the company owner’s proxy, say, the company president, then the employer will be strictly liable for the offenses committed by your assaulter. This liability is also apparent if the assaulter is your immediate supervisor, and even more so if there is an established proof of unfair use of authority over you.
There will be some difficulty in establishing your employer’s liability if the offender is an employee or a customer, or they are not your immediate supervisor. This doesn’t mean, though, that your employer will no longer be held responsible for negligence by your sexual assault attorney. Once it is proven that your employer had complete knowledge about the harassment or assault, but failed to take necessary action regarding the matter, they will be facing serious legal consequences.
A sexual assault lawyer here at Ashcraft & Gerel can help you examine the crucial points of your case and determine whether your workplace should also compensate you for damages.
An Academic Institution’s Responsibility for Sexual Assault
According to the Education Amendments of 1972, specifically under Title IX, sexual discriminations are prohibited on an educational program that is a recipient of federal funding. This sexual discrimination encompasses harassment, rape, and sexual assault.
The following are some of the highlights of the ruling, which may be explained further by your sexual assault lawyer:
- To qualify as discrimination, the harassment must be serious and persistent so that it already affects the victim’s education.
- A college or university determined to possess authority over the offender, and the location of the offense will be held liable.
- There is a Supreme Court ruling that holds an academic institution responsible if it is proven that the school failed to respond necessarily and responsibly to the complaint.
- Furthermore, the Supreme Court requires a college or university that is the recipient of federal funding to pay compensation to the student-victim if there is an established proof of the school’s negligence and indifference.
A dedicated sexual assault lawyer will make you understand how you may be able to obtain compensation, not only from your assaulter, but also from other parties held accountable due to non-action, negligence, or indifference.
How to Choose the Sexual Assault Attorneys Who Will Fight for You
A sexual violence case is almost always a sensitive struggle, not only for the victim, but also for the victim’s family and witnesses. It is thus important to choose a sexual assault attorney who possesses the legal knowledge, experience, and commitment needed in a sexual offense case.
As a short guide, the following characteristics are paramount:
A trustworthy sexual assault lawyer should explain your options.
As a client, you have the choice to either file a criminal case or a civil lawsuit. In a criminal case, the goal is to hold the offender accountable to the state and to prove his or her unequivocal guilt. In a civil complaint, the defendant must be made responsible for the assault done to you. Dependable sexual assault attorneys will inform you of your right to sue the offender in a civil capacity even if they have already been ruled to be “not guilty” in a criminal court.
A sexual assault lawyer should be committed to your case.
Not all sexual assault attorneys will work to get the best possible results for your case. Some of them may easily work towards a plea agreement to make their workload more convenient for them. Whether you are seeking to sue, go to trial, or settle, you need a sexual assault attorney working in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia who will listen to you and offer you a list of the most expedient courses of action. Establishing assault evidence against the offender is crucial, and your sexual assault lawyer has to be prepared to fight with you and for you all the way.
Your sexual assault attorney should inform you of your rights.
Not all civilians are thoroughly well-versed in the law. If you have questions about the legality of certain courses of action, your sexual assault lawyer should be able and willing to cater to such questions. There will be certain gray areas, depending on which state the complaint was filed.
Your attorney should be able to study the finer details of your complaint.
Some sexual abuse or assault victims may be eligible for the state crime victim compensation, which is sourced from state funds. The amount is usually determined by insurance claims and other payouts. The basis for computing the compensation will include losses arising from the crime, expenses related to consequences of the assault, and other costs sustained as a result of the case.
Moreover, sexual assault lawyers can help you recover costs for damages not only from the offender, but also from other parties indirectly involved in the offense. These parties may include schools, offices, youth centers, employers and others which may have failed in giving you sufficient protection from offenders and in mitigating the potentialities of such an offense.
As an employee or a student, you have the right to a safe and secure workplace or university, which means that an employer or school that fails to provide this may also be held accountable.
Empathy and compassion are two essential things to look for in a sexual assault lawyer.
Not all sexual assaults will result in physical injuries, but this doesn’t mean that you are not suffering. The consequences of sexual violence are beyond skin-deep. What you need is a legal counsel who understands the need to recover the fullest compensation you are entitled. Some sexual assault attorneys may simply work towards getting a settlement, and worse, these settlements may not fully compensate for the physical, medical, and psychological damages done to you.
A sexual abuse experience is serious and complicated enough without having to deal with that. When you work with a sexual assault attorney, who operates not only on performance but also on empathy and understanding, what you get is legal backing that genuinely helps you get back on track.
Reach Out to Ashcraft & Gerel If You a Need Trusted and Dedicated Sexual Assault Lawyer for Your Case
Here at Ashcraft & Gerel, our sexual assault lawyers are committed to helping you regain what you have lost, one step at a time.
If you are looking to file criminal charges or to seek compensation in a civil court, we are here to help. Our sexual assault lawyers in DC, MD, and VA are ready to listen to your story, present you with your legal options, and fight for your rightful compensation.