In Florida, sexual abuse is referred to as “sexual battery.” Sexual battery is when one person forces another into a sexual act without consent, including rape, statutory rape, date rape, child molestation, and child sexual abuse. Molestation is defined as the act of one person touching another in a lewd and lascivious manner. Florida Statute 794.11 defines sexual battery, while Florida Statute 800.04 defines molestation. If you have been the victim of a sexual battery or molestation crime, it is essential to seek care and know your legal rights.
What to do after an assault
In the unfortunate event that you are a victim of sexual battery, it is vital to get to safety as quickly as possible. Then, seek medical attention. There is a limited amount of time to gather evidence after a sexual assault, so it is vital to seek medical attention immediately. In addition, store the clothing you wore unwashed to preserve any potential DNA evidence.
How to file charges after sexual battery
It is important to note that you, as the victim, did nothing wrong. Your attacker should be held responsible for their actions. Attackers may face felony charges, and it is crucial to keep them off the streets so they cannot commit similar attacks on others. Deciding to pursue charges may be difficult, so it is okay if you wish to wait. Once you are ready, file a police report with the nearest law enforcement agency. A police report is not required to file a civil suit against your attacker.
Statutes of limitations in Florida
Due to the difficult circumstances surrounding sexual battery, there are generous statutes of limitations to give victims ample time to file claims against their attackers. If the assault occurred as a minor, you have seven years after you turn 18 to press charges. However, a new law called CS/HB 199 — Sexual Battery Prosecution Time Limitation, otherwise referred to as “Donna’s Law,” eliminates the statute of limitations for child sex abuse victims for crimes that would not have been time-barred prior to July 1, 2010. Otherwise, the statute of limitations is generally four years after the attack or when the victim ceases dependence on the abuser.
Damages for sexual abuse victims
If charged with a sexual crime, the abuser may face jail time and other significant criminal and civil consequences. Civil damages for sexual abuse victims may include financial retribution for pain and suffering, medical bills, and lost wages, even if the abuser was found not guilty in criminal court.
Help for sexual battery victims
Florida law provides services for sexual battery victims to get help and resources as a part of the Sexual Battery Victims’ Access to Service Act. These services are available to any victim of sexual battery, regardless of whether the attack was reported. Services include a 24/7 hotline with certified counselors who will help you get the help you need. There are also provisions for crisis intervention services, medical intervention, therapy, and advocacy.
If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, call the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence’s (FCASV) hotline at 1-888-956-7273 or visit FCASV’s website at www.FCASV.org. Additionally, a personal injury lawsuit can provide sexual abuse victims the funds needed to recover and rebuild their lives.
King Law Firm: fighting for victims of sexual abuse
If you wish to seek damages after a sexual assault in Florida, call the King Law Firm at 352-269-1814 for a confidential consultation regarding your case. We will fight for your rights and ensure your attacker faces the consequences of their actions.