There is no justification for sexual abuse. No one deserves to live with the consequences of being sexually abused, and under no circumstances should someone’s allegations of sexual abuse or sexual assault be ignored. If you have been sexually abused, or if you believe that a loved one may be a victim of sexual assault in Oregon or Washington, we encourage you to use these free resources to seek help immediately:
1. What to Do If You or a Loved One Has Been Sexually Abused
The first thing you need to know is that help is available. Too often, sexual abuse victims only file reports with the institutions where the abuse occurred – typically a hospital, nursing home, academic institution, or place of employment. Unfortunately, these institutions put their interests first, and rather than helping the victim, they may attempt to cover up the allegations in order to protect themselves. In this video, attorney Tom D’Amore explains what victims of sexual abuse need to do in order to ensure that their voices are heard.
2. Sexual Abuse Victims’ Legal Rights in Oregon and Washington
If you or a loved one is (or may be) a victim of sexual abuse, you should call the police, promptly. You can call 911 if there is an imminent threat of additional abuse or if you need emergency medical treatment, or you can call the Oregon or Washington police departments’ non-emergency phone numbers if you do not need help immediately.
However, while contacting the police may result in criminal prosecution of the abuser, victims must take separate civil legal action in order to protect their rights. In many cases, the facilities and businesses where attacks occur will be financially liable for victims’ physical injuries, emotional trauma, and other losses. And seeking financial compensation will be an important step in the recovery process.
3. Help for Victims of Sexual Abuse in Hospitals and Nursing Homes
Instances of sexual abuse in hospitals and nursing homes are alarmingly common. Sexual predators target vulnerable patients and residents, knowing that there is a high likelihood that their attacks will go unreported. If you or a loved one has been sexually abused in a hospital or nursing home, you should seek help immediately, and we encourage you to read the following articles to learn more:
4. Oregon Department of Human Services: How to Report Abuse
The Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) provides a phone number and online reporting tools for parents, children, and other family members who are seeking help on behalf of minors and vulnerable adults who have been sexually abused. Instances of sexual abuse can be reported to Oregon DHS by calling 1-855-503-7233, and links to more reporting options are available on the Oregon DHS website.
5. Oregon Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force
The Oregon Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force provides referral services to sexual abuse victims so that they can get help from other state and local agencies. The Sexual Assault Task Force’s website also provides links to private shelters and assistance providers that serve sexual abuse victims in Oregon. You can scroll the Sexual Assault Task Force’s Help for Survivors page to find an agency, shelter, or other assistance provider in your local area.
6. Oregon Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence
The Oregon Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence (OCADSV) is a non-profit organization that is devoted to, “promoting equity and social change in order to end violence for all communities.” Along with a variety of free resources for victims of sexual abuse, the OCADSV also maintains a directory of community-based shelters and advocacy programs that is searchable by location, service type, and languages spoken.
7. Washington State Department of Health: Sexual and Domestic Violence Resources
The Washington State Department of Health provides a variety of free resources for sexual abuse victims and families in Washington. These include: information about what constitutes sexual abuse and domestic violence, ways to seek protection against sexual abuse, and resources for seeking help as a victim of sexual abuse in Washington.
8. Washington State Department of Commerce: Sexual Assault Information
The Washington State Department of Commerce provides an overview of sexual assault and explains the common symptoms of which concerned family members should be aware. It also provides some tips for family members seeking to help victims of sexual abuse, and it provides a phone number (1-800-822-1067) that victims and family members can call to report sexual abuse.
9. Seattle Police Department: Understanding Sexual Assault and Consent
The Seattle Police Department’s website provides a good overview of Washington’s sexual abuse laws and an explanation of what it means to “consent” to sexual contact or intercourse. It also provides a phone number for the Seattle Police Department’s Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit (206-684-5575) and encourages victims to call 911 if they need to report sexual abuse.
10. Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs
The Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs (WCSAP) is a non-profit organization that, “provides information, training, and expertise to programs and individual members who support victims, family and friends, the general public, and all those whose lives have been affected by sexual assault.” The WCSAP maintains an online directory of accredited community sexual assault programs that is alphabetized by city, and its website provides some additional practical information for sexual abuse victims and families in Washington.
If you or a loved one is a victim of sexual abuse, the most important thing you can do is to seek help. Our attorneys have decades of experience helping victims and families throughout Oregon and Washington, and we encourage you to contact us 24/7 if you would like to speak with someone about your situation.
Contact D’Amore Law Group | Legal Representation for Victims of Sexual Abuse
If you need to speak with someone about seeking protection from sexual abuse or asserting your legal rights as a victim in Oregon or Washington, we encourage you to contact us immediately. To speak with one of our experienced attorneys in confidence, call 503-222-6333 or request a free consultation online now.