Sexual abuse and assault have long-term, often severely traumatic consequences. Children, women, and men who have been assaulted or abused have every right to hold their attackers to full account, demanding both criminal justice and financial restitution.
The compassionate and thoughtful attorneys at the Cifarelli Law Firm are here to help survivors of these heinous crimes. We have the resources, tenacity, and experience to move these cases forward and are prepared to fight tirelessly to help ensure that justice is served.
If you have been sexually assaulted or abused in Orange County or a surrounding area of California, please call our Irvine office at 949-502-8600 to schedule a private, confidential, and free consultation today. We are here to provide honest answers about your rights and options and are prepared to begin working on your case right away.
"The Cifarelli Law Firm helped me 4 years with my case and got me a settlement that I deserve. They took care of me like a second family and provided food, parking, compassion, understanding, and never gave up on me. I recommend this firm to anyone because they stay true when they say “We will take care of you.” Thank You Cifarelli Law Firm for everything. God Bless!"
What Is Considered Sexual Abuse?
Sexual abuse may refer to any unwanted act that is sexual in nature, including:
- Sexually touching
- Forcing a victim into sexual touch
- Showing videos or picture of a sexual nature
- Using graphically sexual language
In many cases, the term sexual abuse refers to the abuse of children, but this is not strictly the case. It often happens at the hands of a person of trust, such as a Scout leader, medical professional, church authority or clergy member, or a teacher/mentor.
What Is Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault, like abuse, may encompass a range of unwanted sexual acts. This includes:
- Unwanted touching
- Forced kissing
- Non-consensual rubbing or groping
In practical terms, abuse and assault share many commonalities and are both criminally punishable. Victims of both types of physical and/or emotional violence are entitled to seek justice through aggressive legal action.
Common Places Sexual Abuse Occurs
According to RAINN, nearly 50% of all sexual assaults occur at or near the victim’s home. However, sexual abuse can occur anywhere. This includes schools and camps, workplaces, restaurants and bars, public spaces, and more.
Is a Sexual Abuse Case Different if It Occurs at Your Place of Work?
When sexual abuse occurs at work, your company’s HR department, along with the police, should be informed of the incident. Your company should take steps to protect you against future abuse. Failure to do so may make them liable for certain damages.
You will still want to file a police report, seek appropriate medical care, and hire a sexual abuse attorney to help you seek proper compensation, even if the abuse or assault occurred at your place of work.
If you are confused about your options and your rights, we are here to help you choose the best path forward. Our compassionate and thoughtful attorneys are dedicated to helping victims of sexual abuse get justice. We welcome the opportunity to meet with you, listen to your story, and help you determine the best way to progress with your case.
Who Can File a Sexual Abuse or Sexual Assault Claim?
Victims of sexual abuse and sexual assault are entitled to take civil action against their perpetrators.
In cases when the victim is a minor, parents or a legal guardian have the right to seek justice on behalf of the victim through civil action.
It is important to remember that criminal charges should be brought by the proper authorities, but have no bearing on civil litigation. In some cases, a perpetrator can be found “innocent” in a court of law, but still held to account for their acts of sexual violence through civil action.
The Statute of Limitations for a Sexual Abuse Case In California
In the state of California, adult victims have ten years from the date of the last instance of abuse to file a sexual abuse claim. If an illness or injury has resulted from sexual abuse, victims have three years from the date the injury was discovered to file a claim.
Cases on behalf of minors are not subject to a statute of limitations.
How Soon After the Sexual Abuse/Assault Event Can a Case Be Filed?
Victims of sexual violence, both physical and emotional, are entitled to take legal action as soon as abuse or assault occurs. It is often best to take swift action as it can help ensure criminal justice is served, but the traumatic impacts of these events often result in shame, guilt, depression, and other emotional responses that may delay action.
Even if the act took place years ago, victims of sexual violence are entitled to take civil action, as is the case with many of the high-profile cases against powerful men that stemmed from the #MeToo movement. If you or someone you love has been forced to reckon with the emotional damages of sexual abuse or assault, talking to a knowledgeable and sympathetic attorney is an effective way to determine the best course forward.
How we can help prove Sexual Abuse or Sexual Assault Case Case
If the victim was able to go to the police and/or seek medical care within a specific period of time, the results of a rape kit and other investigative tools may be employed to prove sexual violence has taken place. When there is a delay in reporting, as is often the case, the victim’s testimony, witnesses, and other methods can be employed to establish abuse or assault.
Proving sexual abuse and assault can be incredibly complex. This is one of the reasons it is important to work with an experienced legal team that knows how to investigate these sensitive issues.
What Kind of Evidence Is Needed for a Sexual Abuse Case?
Evidence that may be useful when pursuing a sexual abuse claim include:
- Medical reports
- Police reports
- Witness statements
- Psychological evaluations
- The victim’s testimony
At the Cifarelli Law Firm, we are thorough in our collection of evidence. We will work with you individually to help you determine what needs to be provided for us to successfully handle your case.
How you can prepare for court
If your case goes to trial, you may need to provide testimony. We will work directly with you, providing support the entire time, to help ensure you are fully prepared for anything that may be required of you during a trial.
Remember, civil action is not related to criminal charges. Many of these cases settle before a trial is needed. We will prepare your case for any eventuality while continuing to fight for the swiftest and least invasive resolution.
How Long Do Cases Typically Last in Court?
Sexual abuse claims may settle within a few months, but some take much longer. How long a case will take depends on several factors, including the number of victims, the severity of the acts, and the long-term consequences faced by the victims.
The best way to determine how long your case might take is through a one-on-one consultation with a qualified sexual abuse lawyer.
How Compensation for a Sexual Assault or Abuse Case is Determined
Oftentimes, cases involving sexual abuse or assault will require a trial, leaving the award in the hands of a jury. This makes the strength of your case, including things such as testimony and evidence, key to securing compensation.
Having a skilled and aggressive legal team on your side can help to work towards the most positive results.
How Much Compensation Are Sexual Abuse or Assault Victims Typically Awarded?
Compensation for victims of sexual assault and abuse is based on several factors and can vary widely from case to case. There is no “average” amount of compensation in these claims. Talking to an attorney remains among the most effective ways to determine how much compensation can be sought.
There is no cap on compensatory damages in personal injury cases in California. This means that we can seek substantial compensation for victims of all forms of sexual violence through aggressive civil litigation.
Contact Us for a Free Sexual Abuse and Assault Consultation in Irvine
If you are in need of a sexual abuse or sexual assault attorney in Los Angeles or a surrounding area of California, please call the Cifarelli Law Firm at 949-502-8600 to schedule a free case review today.
Our lawyers believe survivors and are prepared to take these cases as far as needed to help secure maximum compensation for our clients.