Santa Clara Sexual Abuse and Assault Attorneys
Experienced, compassionate representation for survivors across the Bay Area
Sexual abuse and assault are devastating to victims and survivors. It doesn’t matter if it occurs at the hands of a stranger, a family member, a member of the clergy, a teacher, a coach or caregiver. The emotional and mental scars left from a sexual assault can last forever, causing the victim pain for the rest of their lives. It’s essential the perpetrator is brought to justice.
In California and across the United States, victims of sexual abuse and assault can pursue justice against their attackers through both a civil case and a criminal case. Bringing a civil case against your perpetrator is a way to hold them accountable and achieve a sense of closure – as well as helping to prevent what happened to you from ever happening to another person.
At Taylor & Ring, we represent victims of sexual assault and abuse in Santa Clara, San Jose and across the Bay Area. We have extensive experience working with survivors of sexual violence and can advise you on your legal options. Our attorneys are compassionate, knowledgeable and ready to fight for your rights.
Types of sexual assault
Sexual violence is a very real problem in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of Americans are sexually assaulted each year – in fact, someone is sexually assaulted every two minutes. And this scary statistic doesn’t even consider the enormous number of assaults that go unreported.
Under California sexual assault laws, assault generally falls under any type of sexual contact or behavior that happens without the victim’s consent. This also includes times when a victim is physically unable to provide consent – in cases of unconsciousness, intoxication, or disability, or when a child is the victim. Sexual assault can include:
- Forced sexual acts of any nature
- Groping or unwanted touching
- Rape and attempted rape
- Sexual abuse
- Sexual exploitation
- Unwanted penetration of the victim
It’s important to note here that in cases of forced assaults, force isn’t limited to only physical coercion. A perpetrator may also use emotional manipulation or pressure, intimidation or any other type of psychological threat.
What is institutional sexual abuse in Santa Clara?
Many incidents of sexual assault and abuse occur between individuals who know each other. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center states that 51.1% of female victims of rape reported being raped by an intimate partner and 40.8% by an acquaintance. Institutionalized sexual abuse refers to a pattern of behaviors within an institution that enables these types of predatory and abusive behaviors.
Institutional sexual abuse also works within power dynamics, as many perpetrators use their positions of authority within these institutions to commit these acts of violence. For example:
- An employer who offers an employee preferential treatment for sexual favors, or an employer who pressures a subordinate into sexual situations.
- Teachers and educators who groom students for sexual encounters.
- Parents or guardians who sexually abuse their own children or place them into sexually dangerous situations.
- Coaches who groom and sexually assault their athletes, like the case of Larry Nassar.
- Youth organization leaders and members who sexually abuse children
- Priests and other religious figures who sexually assault or abuse children in their supervision.
These types of situations are particularly dangerous, as they involve threats and exploitative behavior from authority figures that lead to long-lasting emotional and psychological damage, whether the victim is a child or adult. It’s even more important the perpetrator is brought to justice – when they abuse their authority, they must face professional penalties as well as criminal and civil. You may also be able to bring a third-party liability case against the institution if their negligence led to your assault.
Common warning signs of sexual assault
Everyone should be able to recognize the signs of sexual assault and abuse, especially among your loved ones and children. Often, a sudden or striking change in behavior, or mysterious injuries or medical problems could indicate a person may have experienced a sexual assault but isn’t comfortable or ready to talk about it. Remember, often sexual abusers use threats and coercion to prevent their victims from speaking out, and they may feel trapped.
Equally important is to know how to protect both yourself and your loved ones from potentially becoming a target for abuse or assault. Following are some important things to keep in mind, as well as things to look out for regarding other people’s safety.
- Often, individuals who plan to commit sexual assault and abuse attempt to make their victims feel safe and secure before the assault, or use flattery and gifts to get the victim to lower their guard.
- Other people may use alcohol or drugs to lower their victims’ resistance to their assault. When someone seems focused on getting another person drunk or otherwise impaired, they may be intending to do that person harm.
- Another strategy perpetrators often attempt is to isolate potential victims, for either immediate assaults or long-term abusive relationships. This could mean a sexual assaulter luring a child away from a party to commit an act of sexual abuse, or an abuser slowly removing their victim’s support system over time.
- Sexual offenders also rely on emotional manipulation and confusion in an attempt to make their victims feel responsible for the assault. They may try to influence the victim to believe the abuse was a consensual act.
What should I do after a sexual assault in the Bay Area?
Although it can be a confusing and frightening time after experiencing sexual abuse or assault, one of the most important things you can do as a victim, or the parent/guardian of a victim, is report it immediately. Time is a critical factor when it comes to a successful prosecution. Preserving vital evidence from a victim’s body, clothing and personal belongings – as well as evidence from the scene – can help bring the attacker to justice. After an assault, victims should immediately contact the police and receive medical treatment. Then, the compassionate attorneys at Taylor & Ring can help you with the next steps in the legal process. You don’t have to go through any of this alone.
California sexual assault statutes of limitations
Those who commit sexual assault and abuse should expect both criminal (from the state) and civil (from the victim) legal actions. The recent passage of AB 1619 in California extended the civil statute of limitations to 10 years. If a survivor of sexual violence discovers an injury or illness that resulted from a sexual assault, he/she has three years from the date that the injury was discovered.
Pursuing compensation for a sexual assault claim in Santa Clara or San Jose
Survivors of sexual assault and abuse can hold their attackers accountable in the form of financial compensation via a civil claim. If you’re a victim of sexual abuse or assault, you’re eligible to file a claim, even if your abuser doesn’t have a criminal conviction. You may be eligible for compensation for losses and damages like:
- Medical expenses – Including medical treatments resulting from the assault, psychological treatment and counseling, or other types of therapy.
- Lost income – If an assault prevents you from working or forces you to leave your job, you may be eligible to receive past and future wages.
- Pain and suffering – Sexual assault and abuse can cause long-term trauma. The perpetrator can be held responsible for mental anguish and emotional distress.
- Punitive damages – In extreme and egregious cases of assault, the court may assign punitive damages to offenders in order to dissuade similarly harmful behaviors.
Talk to our knowledgeable Santa Clara sexual assault attorneys today
The compassionate and trustworthy lawyers at Taylor & Ring have years of experience bringing sexual abusers to justice. We’ll protect your rights and stand by your side during the legal process. Our job is to secure the compensation you need so you can begin to heal. Talk to our lawyers today at 310-776-6390 or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation. We represent clients in Santa Clara, San Jose, and throughout the Bay Area.