SEXUAL ASSAULT and ABUSE
Who are the victims of sexual assault in New Mexico?
New Mexico has the second highest rate of rape in the nation. One in four women and one in twenty men will have been the victims of sexual assault during their lifetimes. The rate of sexual exploitation of children and adolescents in New Mexico is 12% higher than the national average. Only 16% of rapes are reported to the police. Sexual assault affects women, men, and children of all ages, racial, cultural and economic backgrounds.
Sexual assault takes many forms
Sexual assault can take many forms. It always involves the use of actual or threatened physical force, or manipulation and intimidation that induces in the victim fear, shame or mental suffering. Sexual assault involves attacks such as rape or attempted rape, as well as any unwanted sexual contact. Sexual assault occurs when someone touches any part of another person’s body in a sexual way, even through clothes.
Some types of sexual acts which fall under the category of sexual assault include forced sexual intercourse (rape), sodomy (oral or anal sexual acts), child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.
These assaults can happen under many different circumstances such as in school, day care, sports, recreational or employment settings. Many perpetrators of sexual assault are trusted figures in their victim’s lives, including family members, friends, ministers and therapists.
Victims must be given immediate care
Victims of sexual assault require immediate attention. As crime victims they must be taken to a place of safety to receive help from law enforcement officials and to receive medical care. A rape kit must be used in the initial investigation and examination, if appropriate. All clothing and other forms of evidence must be collected and stored in paper as plastic can destroy some forms of evidence. Acute care of the crime victim, and the most intensive activity in investigating the crime often happen at the same time. These health care providers and law enforcement officers may be needed to provide expert testimony in the criminal case and possible civil case.
Sexual predators must be held accountable
It is crucial to stop further abuse of a victim and possible abuse of other potential victims. One of the ways this is achieved is to charge and convict the sexual predator.
A victim of sexual assault also has the right to bring a civil suit for damages against the offender. A civil suit is the only way to provide the victim with financial compensation. A sexual assault leaves victims with lasting psychological, emotional, and sometimes, physical damage. Many victims will experience impairment in all areas of life.
Through a civil suit, it is possible to receive financial compensation for past and future medical bills, past and future loss of income and to provide counseling for pain, suffering and emotional distress. Under some circumstances it may be possible to hold the offender’s employer liable, if the assault occurred within the scope of employment. If the offender was a trusted representative of a religious or civic organization and the assault occurred within the scope of these organizations’ activities they may be held liable as well.
Tiwald Law Firm has successfully represented victims of sexual assault for more than 30 years. We know how very difficult it is for a victim to come forward and pursue legal action against the person who raped, molested, or abused them. We are here to help and support you through this terrible experience.
Tiwald Law has recently represented:
A woman sexually assaulted in a government program by a drug counselor
A victim of sexual assault by a coworker in a university
Victims sexually molested by their therapists
A patient sexually assaulted by a healthcare worker in a hospital
It is extremely important to seek the advice of an experienced and knowledgeable attorney when you are in legal trouble. If you have been the victim of a personal injury due to the negligence, carelessness or abuse of another person, please contact us today to discuss your legal options.