If you or a loved one has been sexually abused in Oregon or Washington, help is available to you. There are resources you can use to learn about your situation, and you can speak with an attorney about your legal options and legal rights, free of charge.
If you need help, we encourage you to review the information below and then contact us promptly so that we can help you through the recovery process.
5 Steps to Take If You or a Loved One Is a Victim of Sexual Abuse
1. Call 911 If You Need Emergency Assistance
First, and most importantly, you should call 911 if you need emergency assistance. Tell the dispatcher where you are and why you are calling, and answer any other questions he or she asks to the best of your ability. If you can, make sure you are in a safe place where you can wait until the police arrive.
In certain cities, like Portland and Vancouver, you can also text 911 if you can’t call. For example, the Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency’s (CRESA) website states: “Texting is intended to benefit people that may not be able to speak due to an emergency such as a home invasion or abusive partner. . . .”
2. Make Sure You and Your Loved Ones Are Safe
Whether you are a victim of sexual abuse or you are seeking help on behalf of a member of your family, you should do what you can to make sure you and your loved ones are safe. In addition to calling 911 if necessary, being safe means extricating yourself or your loved one from the location where the abuse occurred.
For example, a significant number of cases of sexual abuse occur in hospitals and nursing homes. In an alarming number of cases, caretakers and other personnel take advantage of patients’ and residents’ vulnerable states in order to perpetrate sexual abuse. If possible, you should leave the hospital or remove your loved one from the nursing home until appropriate legal action can be taken.
If this is not feasible, whether because you need continuing medical care or your loved one relies heavily on the services the nursing home provides, we encourage you to contact us. Our attorneys can take legal action immediately to protect you or your family member.
3. Utilize the Free Resources That Are Available to You
As a victim of sexual abuse, it is important to understand that you are not the only one. It is easy to feel isolated, but there are several free resources available from state agencies and organizations that exist solely to help people who have been abused and who are in vulnerable situations. We have compiled a list of several of these resources, which you can view here: Resources for Victims of Sexual Abuse in Oregon and Washington.
4. Learn About Your Legal Rights
As a victim of sexual abuse or the family member of a victim of sexual abuse, it is also important for you to have at least a basic understanding of your legal rights. If the perpetrator is prosecuted for rape or sexual assault, this will help reduce the risk that he or she will abuse you, your loved one, or someone else again, but it will not provide you with financial relief for the physical and psychological effects of the attack.
In order to obtain this financial relief, you will need to file a civil lawsuit. While this might involve filing a lawsuit against the abuser, it will more likely involve filing a claim against the business or institution that either facilitated or allowed the assault to occur. For example, hospitals and nursing homes can often be held liable for sexual abuse occurring in their facilities, as can academic institutions, property owners, and other employers. To learn more, you can read: What Are Your Legal Rights as a Victim of Sexual Abuse in Oregon or Washington?
5. Speak with a Highly-Skilled Lawyer
Finally, you should speak with a lawyer who represents victims of sexual abuse. At D’Amore Law Group, our attorneys are licensed to practice in Oregon and Washington, and we can help you or your loved one immediately, if necessary. Beyond filing a lawsuit to recover just compensation, there are a number of other ways we can help you as well, and we will be more than happy to answer all of your questions in a safe and confidential setting.
What Not to Do If You or a Loved One Has Been Sexually Abused
In addition to taking these steps to protect yourself or your loved one, there are some things you should avoid doing as well. Most importantly, these include:
- Do not ignore the abuse. Statistically, abusive situations are likely to get worse before they get better. If you or a member of your family has been sexually abused, do not ignore it. There is nothing about sexual abuse that is okay, and victims have clear legal rights and legal remedies in Oregon and Washington.
- Do not blame yourself. Under no circumstances should you blame yourself for being abused or for abuse perpetrated against a member of your family. Sexual abusers are predators, and they take advantage of people who are vulnerable due to circumstances beyond their control.
- Do not assume you are helpless. While you might feel helpless, you are not alone, and there are resources available to you. You deserve to make a full recovery. And at D’Amore Law Group, we can help make sure this happens.
Contact Us to Speak with Attorney Tom D’Amore about Your Legal Rights
To speak with one of our attorneys about your situation in confidence, please call us today or contact us online. You can reach us 24/7. Your initial consultation is free, and you pay nothing unless we recover financial compensation for your (or your loved one’s) losses.