Why You Need a Lawyer for a Campus Sexual Assault Case
Bill Allen | November 17, 2023 | Personal Injury
Experiencing a sexual assault on campus is an incredibly traumatic event. As well as dealing with the considerable emotional impact, you’re confronted with complex university policies and legal procedures that can be almost impossible to navigate alone.
In such sensitive instances, becoming aware of your rights and understanding your legal options available is essential in the pursuit of justice for the harm inflicted on you. This makes working closely with skilled legal representation absolutely vital.
Campus Sexual Violence Statistics
Sexual violence on college campuses is a serious issue that sadly permeates institutions across the globe. These sobering statistics underscore its overwhelming prevalence:
- Approximately 13% of all undergraduate and graduate students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.
- Among undergraduates, 26.4% of female students and around 6.8% of male students are victims of such violations via physical force, violence, or incapacitation.
- It’s estimated that 90% of campus sexual assaults are committed by perpetrators that the survivor knows.
- Only 12% of college student survivors report the assault to police.
While these numbers are already deeply disconcerting, they likely only scratch the surface of the actual extent of sexual assault and violence on college campuses. It’s believed that a substantial number of incidents go unreported due to survivors’ fear, embarrassment, or lack of faith in their institution’s ability to adequately address these issues.
The Role of Attorneys in Campus Sexual Assault Cases
Attorney representation plays a critical, multifaceted role when dealing with campus sexual assault cases. Here’s why working with one is so important:
Lawyers often act as a pillar of emotional support for the survivor during this overwhelming period. They provide thoughtful guidance while you deal with the very challenging process of seeking justice following an incident. While they certainly won’t replace mental health counseling and support, having a knowledgeable professional by your side during this time is essential.
Help You Report to Appropriate Authorities
In addition to emotional support, your lawyer can help facilitate reporting to appropriate authorities—both on a university level and to law enforcement. They will ensure that the information is relayed correctly and entirely so nothing is lost or overlooked.
Explaining Title IX Protections
A crucial part of their role also involves enlightening clients about Title IX laws and protections – federal legislation in place ensuring all educational activities receiving federal financial assistance afford equal opportunities irrespective of gender. This extends to protections against sexual harassment and violence on campuses, as such violations could impede access to education.
Universities Will Take Your Claims More Seriously
Having a competent lawyer in your corner can make universities take your case more seriously. Universities are companies that often have concerns about profits and reputation. This, unfortunately, means they don’t always do the right thing when it comes to allegations of misconduct on their campus.
With an attorney supporting you, administrations become keenly aware that any mishandling or oversight will be identified and addressed promptly. This assures that they will take your allegations seriously and won’t try to brush it under the rug.
Filing Civil Claims Against Appropriate Parties
In addition to taking allegations through the criminal justice system or a university’s internal procedures, your lawyer can also help you explore civil pathways. This might include filing a lawsuit against appropriate parties for financial damages as a result of the traumatic event.
Depending on your situation, it may be appropriate to file claims against not just the abuser themselves but possibly the school as well. If the school breached its duty by failing to prevent such occurrences, responded inadequately when informed about them, or violated Title IX obligations, it may be liable for paying you damages.
Consult With an Experienced Sexual Assault Attorney
Ultimately, having a lawyer signals that you’re prepared to seek justice and do whatever it takes to make sure the sexual assault allegations are handled appropriately. If you need help with a campus sexual assault claim, don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule a free consultation with one of our sexual assault lawyers.
Contact Our Gainesville Personal Injury Law Firm in North Central Florida
We have three convenient locations in North Central Florida: