What Can Victims of Sexual Abuse Expect in Court?
First and foremost, it is worth mentioning that – in most cases – victims of sexual abuse don’t (have) press charges against the abuser/criminal. This means that the victim won’t have to bear the costs of a trial and so on.
Why? Because sexual abuse and assault is a criminal offense and the police/authorities will press charges against the abuser and, as they say, drag them in court for justice. Still, this doesn’t mean that victims don’t have a say in all this or don’t need to contact a sexual abuse attorney.
In sexual abuse cases and court trials, victims are considered as witnesses and also have the right to legal counseling.
Let’s see what else can the victims of sexual abuse expect in court and during the trial
The Victim’s Rights
Even if the victim is seen as a witness, they still have plenty of rights, compared to other types of cases/trials.
As such, the victim has the right to crime victim compensation, to attend the case proceedings, to request police protection throughout the trial, as well as the right to voice themselves and their opinions during the trial/proceedings.
As some of you may know, sexual abuse victims are also entitled to a support person that can assist them throughout the trial. This is because sexual abuse, first of all, is an overwhelming experience and can let someone scarred for life. Then, to put the same person through such a trial can be even harder for them, mentally.
Because of this, victims can request support from – friends or family, a trained advocate, or from a state crime victim compensation program. They will join you in the court of law and make sure that you are comfortable!
During the trial and in the court of law, the victim will interact mainly with the defense and prosecuting attorneys, as well as with the judge. Their role – as a victim and witness – will be to assist the two attorneys and answer their questions.
However, until they get into the courtroom, the victims may find refuge in a specially designed victim waiting are. Depending on the trial and its stage, the victim may not be asked into the courtroom until they are to be questioned or such.
Furthermore, before the trial, the victim may also be asked to clarify any and every concern that they have regarding the trial and the proceedings with their legal counselor.
In terms of overall interaction with any individual throughout the trial, the victim of sexual abuse has the right to require a police escort or even have a no-contact order instated for them.
The Bottom Line
Even though a mere witness, so to say, sexual abuse victims are the only persons that can have the abusers convicted. While the criminal proceedings and overall process may seem not enough at times, the authorities will always do their best to find the accused guilty!
Last but not least, it is essential that victims take advantage of the legal counsel they are provided with, as well as of the support person they choose. It’s in their and the state’s best interest to have the victim recover from their experience!