Sexual Abuse and Sexual Assault: What’s the Difference?
Sexual abuse takes place more often than most people would like to believe. Regrettably, some of the worst offenders are those who people never expect. Although sexual abusers may be held responsible in criminal court, the civil court system is available to help victims recover compensation that they can use to help cover the financial burdens they face after being harmed.
A sexual abuse attorney in Massachusetts can make a big difference when it comes to your ability to secure financial compensation after being harmed. In some instances, it can help to understand whether a person is a victim of sexual abuse or sexual assault and what legal options are available to them.
The Difference Between Sexual Abuse and Sexual Assault
Sexual abuse and sexual assault are similar in a variety of ways. Both abuse and assault involve unwanted sexual contact.
Sexual assault can include:
- The use of force
- The threat of force
- A lack of consent or understanding of the sexual act
- The victim is a family member of the abuser
- The perpetrator holds a position of trust or authority over the victim
These elements can and often do overlap between instances of sexual abuse and sexual assault. As a result, sexual abuse can take various forms, including:
- Date rape
- Abuse of an intimate partner
- Unwanted sexual touching
- Exposing sexual organs to minors
- Molestation and/or fondling of minors
Who are Sexual Abuse Victims and Perpetrators?
It is incredibly common for perpetrators of sexual abuse to have power or some type of authority over their victims. This is why many disabled parties, elderly individuals, and children end up as victims of sexual abuse. Perpetrators will instill fear into victims, threaten them, and use other forms of psychological manipulation to lure their victims and to keep them from telling others about what is taking place.
Some of the most common people who are identified as sexual abuse perpetrators include:
- Older relatives
- Caregivers for disabled individuals
- Nursing facility staff members
- Daycare providers
- School teachers
- Extracurricular activity leaders
- Priests and clergy members
- School administration members
Victims will often have a personal relationship with their abusers prior to experiencing some form of unwanted sexual contact. This gives abusers access to their victims and allows the abuse to continue over longer periods without it being detected.
Damages for Sexual Abuse and Assault Victims
Victims often experience mental and emotional consequences as a result of their abuse. Consequently, victims who are sexually abused or assaulted will often require some form of mental health treatment. Victims can recover compensation for medical expenses, mental health treatment costs, pain and suffering, and more.
The Law Office of Carmen L. Durso Can Help You
Our lawyers can help you get the mental health services you need, speak with law enforcement, and take various steps that can help you cope with the traumatic experience you have had. Our lawyers will stand by your side and advocate on your behalf to make sure your legal rights and best interests are always protected.
Contact our Massachusetts sexual abuse law firm today by calling 617-728-9123. Our lawyer is available to meet with you at your earliest convenience so we can discuss the legal options available for you.