Virginia’s remedies for sexual assault victims | Allen and Allen

Virginia’s remedies for sexual assault victims

When people talk about sexual assault, we often speak of it in terms related to the criminal justice system. For example, Virginia recognizes a number of distinct criminal offenses for sexual assault, each with distinct elements and legal definitions. These include:

sexual assault victim in Virginia

Sexual assaults can be non-consensual or violent, and they often have long-term impacts on victims, even after the physical wounds have healed. This is one reason that victims of sexual assault should explore all of the legal remedies available to them—including criminal and civil actions.

What is the difference between a civil and criminal case for sexual assault?

The goal of criminal prosecution is to punish the defendant for the sexual assault that he or she committed, and to prevent that person from wanting to re-offend in the future. This is often accomplished by putting the defendant in jail or requiring the defendant to enroll with the Sex Offender Registry.

In contrast, the goal of the civil case is to provide a financial remedy to the person who was sexually assaulted, which is accomplished by compensating the victim for the physical, mental, and emotional damages caused by the sexual assault. A sexual assault victim may file a civil lawsuit for the anguish, pain, suffering, humiliation, and medical or psychological treatment he or she received as a consequence of a sexual assault.

rapist behind bars in jail

What if my abuser was found not guilty in the criminal trial?

Due to the different burdens of proof, it is possible to pursue a civil claim even if the defendant is found not guilty of the criminal charge(s). Our hope at Allen & Allen is to empower our clients against their abusers so that they can obtain the justice that they deserve.

Sexual assault cases can be complex, as they often involve employers, residential facilities like nursing or group homes, or schools and universities.  If you or a loved one has been the victim of a sexual assault, it’s in your best interest to work with a sexual assault attorney who can help you achieve closure and return to your normal life.  Call Allen & Allen today at 866-378-2724.  All consultation calls are free and confidential.

For an overview of the criminal sexual assault laws of other states, click here.