Sexual Assault & Abuse Attorneys

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Raleigh Sexual Assault Lawyers

Helping Sexual Abuse Victims Get the Justice They Deserve

In addition to criminal charges, victims of sexual assault (as defined in NC § 14-27.20) can seek compensation and justice through a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator and others responsible. The statute of limitations in North Carolina allows victims 3 years after the time of assault to pursue a civil claim against their attacker, although this is extended for victims of childhood sexual abuse under the SAFE Child Act. Our sexual assault and harassment lawyers at Edwards Kirby have spent years representing victims of sexual abuse — to hold attackers and their enablers accountable beyond the criminal justice system. Collectively, we have over 170 years of legal experience, and our commitment to our clients is unparalleled. We are passionate about victims rights and will fight to get you the justice you deserve.

What Is a Civil Lawsuit for Sexual Assault?

Pursuing Your Claim Distinct from Criminal Charges

When victims of sexual assault have already pursued criminal charges, either successfully or unsuccessfully, they can seek justice against the perpetrator in a civil lawsuit. A civil lawsuit is completely different from a criminal case, because it provides compensation for you personally against your assailant. You may also be able to pursue a claim against third parties — such as an employer or the owner of the property where the assault occurred — if their negligence or inaction enabled your attacker to assault you.

A civil lawsuit allows you, personally, to recover from the responsible parties and to be in control of your case, with the assistance of your counsel. This can allow you to seek closure on your terms. Importantly, a civil lawsuit for sexual assault can compensate you for the many issues and injuries that you may be personally dealing with in the wake of your assault, which may include:

  • Medical Treatment
  • Psychiatric and Psychological Costs, which may be ongoing
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Treatment for Emotional Trauma
  • Rehabilitation of Personal and Romantic Relationships

What If My Attacker Was Not Found Guilty of Criminal Charges?

You can still pursue a civil claim even if your assailant was found not guilty by a criminal court or the criminal case was not pursued by law enforcement for “lack of evidence.” A civil case has different legal standards and a different burden of proof than a criminal case. It can be much easier to prove that your assailant harmed you in civil court than it is in criminal court. You can still hold them accountable, as well as other responsible parties, through a civil lawsuit.

Our commitment to and care for our clients is unrivaled. Edwards Kirby’s sexual assault lawyers have served clients all across North Carolina since 1993, and we’re here to help you in your time of need.

Types of Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse refers to the different types of abusive sexual behavior committed by one person to another. It can happen to people of any gender or age and doesn’t always involve violence or physical contact. Sexual abuse is by definition nonconsensual and unsolicited, taking many forms under North Carolina law, including:

  • Rape and Statutory RapeAt a federal level, rape is a nonconsensual, penetrative sex act no matter how slight. In North Carolina, this includes when the victim is unable to give consent due to intoxication, mental incapacity, or other factors. Statutory rape is when an adult age 18 or older engages in sexual intercourse with a minor — in North Carolina, that’s anyone under the age of 16 — whether or not consent is given.
  • Sexual Assault – According to the United States Department of Justice, “the term ‘sexual assault’ means any nonconsensual sexual act proscribed by Federal, tribal, or State law, including when the victim lacks capacity to consent.” This may also include the threat with or use of a deadly weapon or force upon another person in order to engage in sexual activity.
  • Sexual Harassment – This refers to unwelcome or uninvited sexual advancements, requests, comments, indecent exposures, messages, and other types of sexually suggestive or explicit behaviors directed at an individual or group. Sexual harassment may or may not include physical touch, depending on the situation, and can take place in public, in the workplace, at home, in a learning environment, in spaces where individuals may abuse their position of authority (including online), and in a variety of other circumstances.
  • Sexual Battery – Sexual battery is when a person engages in unwanted sexual contact with another person’s body, by force or through manipulation (as in the case when the victim is incapacitated, mentally disabled, or physically helpless). The primary difference between rape and sexual battery is that the latter doesn’t involve penetration or sexual intercourse.
  • Inappropriate Touching, Fondling, or Groping – Sexual abuse includes unwanted, inappropriate touching, groping, slapping, rubbing, fondling, and other forms of sexual contact. The seriousness of this should not be overlooked, as if left unaddressed, perpetrators may progress to more invasive and violent types of sexual aggression and assault.

Keep in mind that laws defining sexual abuse in the United States can differ from state to state. In today’s world, sexual abuse may also occur online, over the phone, and through any type of screen in varying degrees of severity. If you’re seeking legal representation as a victim of sexual abuse, consider reaching out to the sexual assault attorneys at Edwards Kirby for guidance.

Resources in Raleigh and North Carolina for Survivors

Coming forward and telling someone about sexual assault is a difficult but necessary step to receiving help and preventing the perpetrator from causing future harm. Because of the sensitive, personal nature of sexual assault, the sexual harassment lawyers and sexual abuse attorneys at Edwards Kirby believe in providing survivors with as many resources as possible to assist in the process of healing and seeking justice. Below is a list of resources in Raleigh and North Carolina for victims of sexual abuse.

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