Sexual violence happens all too often in New York City. In 2019, there were 1,755 reported rapes in New York City, according to the New York City Police Department (NYPD). Averaged out, that is 4 to 5 rapes (that we know of) each day.
We also learned in 2019 that NYC law enforcement had been undercounting rape cases by 38% because the definition of rape was too narrow. We cannot even imagine how many more victims are out there who are simply too afraid or unwilling to go to the police. Victims of sexual assault should never endure the consequences alone.
It can be hard to know where to turn after being sexually abused. You may feel like you are alone and that no one understands what you are going through.
Recognizing this reality, as of May 24, 2022, the New York legislature passed the Adults Survivors Act (“ASA”) to give survivors of adulthood sexual abuse a chance to bring claims that would have otherwise been barred by statutes of limitations defense.
Update: ASA will open a temporary one-year window for survivors to bring claims —from approximately November 2022 through November 2023.
That’s where we come in. Our New York sexual assault lawyers have worked with many victims of rape and sexual assault and do so with the utmost empathy and compassion, and work tirelessly to maintain your dignity while pursuing remedies against the perpetrators.
At the Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm, we know first-hand how devastating sexual assault can be for the victim and the victim’s family. We take all measures to protect our clients while we fight for your rights and interests.
If you or a loved one have been the victim of sexual assault, we can help you begin reclaiming your life.
Our New York sexual abuse attorneys and sexual assault lawyers will listen to your claim and provide a confidential consultation.
Call 212-869-3500 today or contact us online for a confidential, free lawyer consultation.
Common Types Of Sexual Abuse & Sexual Assault
According to RAINN, every 73 seconds, a sexual assault happens somewhere in the United States. Sexual violence materializes in different ways, but in many cases, there is a lack of consent.
Consent in New York means participants in sexual activity do so voluntarily, knowingly, and mutually. Consent can be given by words or actions so long as it creates explicit consent––it is not enough for a person to be silent or resist. Further, a person under seventeen cannot legally consent, but there are exceptions to this rule.
Keep in mind that sex offenders or sexual abusers can be anyone––a family member, family friend, friend, teacher, minister, or stranger. Sexual violence can also happen to anyone, regardless of sex, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual identity, or sexual orientation.
Common types of sexual violence, as defined by New York law, are briefly described below.
Sexual harassment can occur in the workplace and can involve superiors or co-workers sexually harassing someone. The harassment can take many forms, from sexual gestures to sexually offensive remarks to coerced sex acts.
Forcible touching occurs when the perpetrator either (1) forcibly touches (e.g., squeezing, grabbing, or pinching) another person’s sexual or intimate body parts for sexual gratification or to degrade or abuse the person.
Oral & Anal Sexual Misconduct
Oral Sexual Conduct and Anal Sexual Conduct Are Criminal Acts When:
- There’s no consent
- There’s no consent because the victim:
- is under the age of 17; or
- has a mental disability; or
- cannot otherwise consent
- A person 21 years old or older performs oral or anal sex with a person who is younger than 17 years old.
- A person 18 years old or older performs oral or anal sex with a person who is younger than 15 years old.
Sexual Misconduct Occurs When a Person Does Not Obtain Consent Before Engaging in:
- Sexual Intercourse
- Oral Sexual Conduct
- Anal Sexual Conduct
This type of sexual violence occurs when a superior or person of authority takes advantage of another person. Examples include relationships between doctors and patients, teachers and students, employers and employees, priests/ministers, and parishioners. In the last few months, it has also come to light that leaders in the Boy Scouts of America abused their position of authority to sexually assault boys in their charge.
Rape occurs when the perpetrator engages in sexual intercourse:
- Without the person’s consent
- With a person younger than 17 years old (unless there is no more than a 4-year age gap)
- With a person who cannot consent due to mental incapacity or mental disability.
Sexual abuse in New York is defined as making sexual contact with another person without that person’s consent. Sexual contact refers to a perpetrator touching the other person’s intimate or sexual body parts for sexual gratification, including molestation or a sexual act.
Steps To Take After A Sexual Assault
What you do after a sexual assault can make a difference in your health and overall well-being.
- Seek Safety. Find a safe place, whether that means home, a friend’s house, or elsewhere. If you are in immediate danger, you should always call 911.
- Get Medical Attention. If you have just been assaulted, you need medical attention to treat bodily injuries. A rape kit may also be administered if appropriate––the window to collect forensic evidence is between 72 and 96 hours. It’s best not to shower, comb your hair, or change your clothes. Even if the assault happened days, weeks, or years earlier, you might still want to seek medical attention to determine whether you have contracted any sexually transmitted diseases or other conditions or health issues.
- Get Support. If you do not have anyone close to you to confide in or want anonymity, contact a crisis hotline. In New York City, you can contact the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NYSCASA) at 1-800-942-6906 for confidential guidance. The NYSCASA can also provide you with information regarding local rape crisis centers.
- Get Mental Health Support. Sexual assault of any kind is traumatic. It is essential to seek support after an attack to help you process it and move forward. Report the Sexual Assault or Sexual Abuse. If you sought immediate medical attention, then the police were likely involved. If the assault occurred earlier and you did not seek immediate attention, you can and should still report it to the police.
- Retain an Experienced Attorney. Sexual assault is a crime. The State of New York will prosecute cases that are timely and if there is enough evidence. But as a sexual assault survivor, you cannot depend on the State of New York to take care of you; you have to take matters into your own hands. In addition, you may be able to start a civil lawsuit against your attacker, depending on the circumstances.
Following the above steps and then contacting our sexual violence legal team at the Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm for legal advice is one of the best ways to protect yourself.
Am I Able To Sue My Attacker Or Others Who Might Be Liable For My Sexual Assault?
In a sexual assault, you are physically and mentally harmed by another person’s intentional act so that you can recover compensation for economic and non-economic damages via a civil case.
Physical harm, however, is not necessary in order to suffer damages. Further, in some cases, other people or even an organization may also be held liable.
So, yes, you can sue your attacker and other liable parties.
Elements Of A Civil Tort Claim Or Lawsuit
To Succeed in a Personal Injury Claim or Civil Lawsuit Based on Sexual Assault, You Must Prove:
- The assailant sexually assaulted you;
- You suffered damages as a result of the assault; and
- The defendant intentionally or negligently caused your injuries. Still, a person or entity could also be liable for negligence when a duty of care was owed but was breached, creating a situation where the assailant could sexually assault you.
These elements must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning it more than likely happened. This standard of proof is lower than a criminal case where the prosecutor must prove that the defendant committed sexual assault beyond a reasonable doubt.
The one person most at fault for the sexual assault and personal injury is the perpetrator. Other potentially liable parties include:
- Property owners or landlords in a premises liability action because they have a duty to maintain safe premises and to prevent foreseeable acts of violence;
- Employers can be held vicariously liable when they fail to protect employees from foreseeable acts of violence.
- Institutions or organizations (e.g., a church organization or children’s club) through a negligence claim when they knowingly knew of an alleged sexual assault or its threat but failed to act.
The physical, mental, and emotional consequences of sexual assault are both immediate and long-term. You may suffer a bodily injury that requires medical treatment. But you’ll also need counseling and other treatment to address your emotional and mental health.
Further, you may have to take time off from work. Even when you return to work, the effects of emotional distress, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder may interfere with your ability to work.
All of these medical bills, medical expenses, and time off from work, add up financially. You deserve to get the help you need, and you should not have to suffer the financial consequences, too. At Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm, we work relentlessly to ensure you get full and fair compensation for all the damages you may have suffered.
NY Statute Of Limitations On Filing A Lawsuit After A Rape Or Sexual Assault
Statutes of limitations are the amount of time you have after an assault to file a complaint. As always, the deadlines vary per the facts and circumstances of your case.
- Rape or Aggravated Sexual Assault. If you have been raped, there is no statute of limitations to file criminal charges to file a civil claim; you have twenty (20) years from the date of the assault or at least seven (7) years if the perpetrator was convicted of a crime for raping or assaulting you.
- Child Abuse. The Child Victims Act was enacted in New York in 2019. It provides extra protection and extended filing times for victims of childhood sexual abuse. The theory is that many child victims are not able to process or come forward with their claims for many years after the abuse took place. The longer statute of limitations in place provides that if you are or were a victim of child abuse, you have up until the age of 55 to file a civil claim.
If you were the victim of childhood sexual assault and your statute of limitations previously expired, the government has provided an extra window in which to file your claims — until August 14, 2021. These rules are quite complicated, and we suggest that you seek expert legal advice to ascertain whether you may still have a claim if your abuse happened many years ago.
- Sexual Harassment. Victims of sexual harassment have up to three (3) years to file a claim or lawsuit against the alleged offender.
- Negligence. For property owners, employers, or other negligent parties, the statute of limitations is three (3) years from the date of the sexual assault.
Speak With A New York City Sexual Assault Lawyer Today
We know how difficult sexual assault cases can be for you or your loved one.
We also know that fighting for just, and fair compensation in a civil court is not an easy thing to do. But our lawyers can help guide you through this process. They are empathetic and good listeners and will fight for your rights as if they were a member of your family.
Reach out to our legal team of lawyers who handle sexual abuse and assault cases.
Call 212-869-3500 to schedule a free case evaluation and learn more about your legal options. Rest assured, we are thorough. We are experienced. And we are committed.