If any individual has abused you, you may fear coming forward for diverse and emotional reasons. Your memories of the event may be complicated by the trauma you suffered – which can make you feel as if no one will believe you. Your community may pressure you and others like you not to speak up. You may feel as if you are alone.
Many sexual abuse lawyers, seeking better ways to help those who were abused and to prevent abusers from continuing to prey on the vulnerable, have been filing civil lawsuits as a way to hold abusive individuals accountable. By stepping forward, you can take control over what has happened to you, and you can help prevent it from happening to anyone else. If you’ve been through sexual abuse, our personal injury lawyers in Austin can help you.
Why Choose Shaw Cowart’s Sexual Abuse Lawyers in Austin?
Our Austin sexual abuse attorneys know that you are going through such a traumatic event in life. We have been helping sexual abuse victims in the Austin, Texas area for decades and can recover the compensation you deserve. We are committed to pursuing your case. Contact us or please call 512-499-8900 today to schedule a free consultation.
Definition of Sexual Assault in Texas
Texas takes sexual assault allegations seriously. The state’s Penal Code Section 22.011 describes sexual assault as “any non-consensual, unwanted sexual contact against another person involving penetration.” Under this definition, “non-consensual” includes the use of physical force, coercion, threats of violence, or manipulation. Charges of sexual assault may be a first or second-degree felony depending on the circumstances of the case.
Where Sexual Abuse Commonly Takes Place
Unfortunately, sexual abuse takes place in many settings, including:
- At the workplace
- In a healthcare setting
- In a nursing home or assisted living facility
- At school or school events
- At church-related events
- At home
- At homes of friends and family
If you are wondering if you have a case, our sexual abuse lawyers in Austin can make that determination for you. Although where the abuse took place is relevant to a civil lawsuit, don’t hesitate to call us based on where it took place. We can review all the circumstances of the abuse and let you know what your options are for pursuing justice and compensation.
What Happens if Sexual Abuse Happens in My Workplace?
Over 7 million women and 3 million men reported instances of sexual violence in the workplace during a single 2-year study. Data from the study also reveals long-term impacts on emotional well-being, safety concerns, and missed days of work in victims of workplace sexual violence. The same report concludes that an estimated 1 million women reported experiencing rape by a workplace perpetrator.
If you’ve been the victim of sexual abuse in the workplace, you may be able to sue your employer or a third party if their negligence or misconduct led to the sexual abuse that took place. Our experienced workplace injury attorneys in Austin have thorough and complete knowledge of the relevant Texas and federal employment laws that may bolster your case, and we do not back down to even the most powerful employers.
What to Do if You Experience Sexual Assault In Austin
In the traumatic aftermath of a sexual assault, it may be difficult to think clearly and take the best steps to aid your eventual recovery. Many sexual assault victims feel a sense of derealization—or a sense of disbelief that what just occurred really happened to them. The trauma of sexual assault leaves victims with physical pain, fear, and deep emotional wounds. If you’ve experienced a sexual assault, taking the following steps can put you on a path that leads to eventual recovery:
- Make sure you are safe: It’s highly recommended to report the crime by calling 911, but victims of sexual assault often feel too traumatized to talk about such a personal violation and relive trauma by describing it to authorities. No one can tell a sexual assault survivor how best to handle their own trauma, but if you don’t feel immediately safe, also call a trusted loved one to stay with you as you carefully think through the decision and process of reporting the assault
- Ask for transport to a medical rape center in an area hospital or call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-565-HOPE for information about what to do immediately after an assault. They will also direct you to a local sexual assault service provider for the most sensitive and understanding medical care and evidence collection
- Process your experience: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and acute anxiety are common after a sexual assault. Seeking out a clinician who specializes in sexual assault victims can help you learn coping mechanisms and gain a full understanding that what happened was not your fault
- Consider the legal options in your case, including filing a police report and calling an Austin sexual abuse lawyer to represent your interests throughout the process. Your case could proceed both criminally and in civil court simultaneously or in civil court only to recover the compensation and justice you deserve.
The Statute of Limitations in Texas for Sexual Abuse Cases
The statute of limitations in Texas depends on the exact case. Sexual abuse can be a large umbrella category and it’s important to consult with our Austin sexual abuse lawyers about your claim. Adults who were abused as children are often able to make a claim even decades later.
What Kind of Evidence is Vital for a Case?
Evidence will be highly dependent on the circumstances, including whether the abuse took place recently or in the distant past. Our Austin sexual abuse attorneys will work tirelessly to demonstrate that the abuse took place and to show how it has affected the victim’s life. Examples of sex abuse evidence include:
- Physical evidence
- Victim testimony
- Verbal evidence
- Police reports
- Medical records
- Counseling records
- Witness testimony
- Journal entries
If a criminal conviction resulted from this abuse, then that conviction will play a large role in the civil lawsuit. If someone you know was killed in a sexual abuse case, reach out to our Austin wrongful death attorneys to learn more about what you can do.
Types of Sexual Assault In Austin, Texas
Sexual assault takes many different forms and can happen to anyone at any time, regardless of age, gender, socioeconomic status, or disability. The term “sexual assault” describes a wide variety of sexually abusive behaviors including:
- Child sexual abuse
- Date rape or acquaintance rape
- Stranger assault
- Intimate partner sexual assault
- Same gender assault
- Sexual exploitation by authority figures
- Sexual exploitation by professionals (doctors, therapists, etc)
- Alcohol/drug-facilitated sexual assault
- Pornography involving coercion, bribery, threats, or violence
- Commercial sexual exploitation
- Systematic sexual abuse
Victims of all types of sexual assault may feel ashamed, embarrassed, or stigmatized. It’s estimated that as many as 63% of rapes go unreported and only 12% of child sexual abuse is reported.
How to Prepare For Your Court Case
Your sexual abuse lawsuit may not need to go before a jury or go to trial. Negotiations outside of the courtroom are often sufficient to obtain a resolution, although every case is different. Rely on our sexual abuse lawyers in Austin to fully prepare you and your family for court appearances, if that becomes necessary. We know just how difficult it can be for abuse victims to testify and make court appearances, and we will work with you every step of the way to minimize the emotional impact while also obtaining the best possible results.
What Kind of Compensation Should I Expect?
Compensation can never be guaranteed, but when it is awarded, it may be for damages including:
- Medical bills
- Counseling expenses
- Loss of income and wages
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished quality of life
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish
A civil lawsuit provides a means of seeking compensation not only for financial losses and costs, but also for consequences that are harder to attach a dollar amount to, like physical pain and mental anguish.
Why Should I Contact Shaw Cowart For My Case?
Many people who face past abuse feel hopeless, at least at first. “That all happened a long time ago,” you may say to yourself. “What can I possibly do now?”
Through a civil lawsuit, you gain the opportunity to confront the perpetrator and those who keep that person in a position of influence. You exert the power and control over the situation that were cruelly and unfairly taken from you when you were young. You can seek damages related to the abuse, such as the costs of medical care, pain and suffering, and the chance to ensure that the person never harms someone else the same way they harmed you.
A lawsuit provides a concrete opportunity for you to seek closure and do justice. Pursuing these goals can help you move forward – so that the perpetrator does not continue to harm your future the way he or she has harmed your past.
To get started on your case right now with no obligation whatsoever, simply complete our free confidential consultation form or give our Austin sexual abuse attorneys a call at 512-499-8900. Let us start working on your sexual abuse case immediately.