If you have been the victim of a sexual assault, it’s important to know there are alternatives to going to the police. Depending on where you live there are a variety of support centers and organizations set up specifically to deal with crimes of this nature. These include specialist nurses, counselors and legal practitioners. See this article about some of alternative services to calling the police
Rape crisis centers and support centers for sexual abuse and domestic violence are always in need of empathetic people willing to volunteer their time and effort in support of sexual abuse victims. These volunteers are crucial for such support centers to function at their best and there are a lot of opportunities for people who are able to volunteer in this field. These volunteers perform a great service, several tasks and provide a lot of help for women in crisis, doing themselves and society proud. These services may include direct work with sexual violence survivors, becoming a part of the management teams and committees, fundraising, women’s awareness raising groups, public activities and events, etc.
There are several ways to get involved in such services and every center has their own ways of working with the volunteers. To volunteer for rape crisis centers first of all it is mandatory that the person be at least 18 years of age and older and be able to donate 2-12 hours of service every week to the purpose of answering calls, responding to victim needs and helping with paperwork.
There are also other formalities that need to be fulfilled in order to volunteer in such services. There is an initial interview and a specialized training program that every volunteer must complete before they can start their work. Depending on the rape crisis center volunteers are usually asked to commit a minimum of 6 months to one year to the volunteer service. Specific detailed information about requirements and opportunities can be answered by your local RCC.
To serve as a volunteer in a rape crisis center, one of the first things that is needed is proper training. Every volunteer needs to undergo at least 40 hours training process to learn about the facts and figures of sexual assault and sexual abuse. The course also offers an in depth knowledge about common misconceptions, and an understanding of the trauma women have to go through. It also helps with the development of counseling skills for the volunteers as this is the basic thing that everyone needs. Whenever any woman in distress calls for help the most important thing that she needs is the support and understanding of her plight. They need comfort and advice to get out of the trauma caused by the incident. Some people may not even be willing to cooperate out of fear and embarrassment but it is the duty of the person on the other side of the line to calm her and make her feel comfortable and offer proper guidance.
Some people have natural skills and some have academic knowledge and experience in handling such situations but with specific training those skills are further brushed up so that they can provide better assistance. Nevertheless the most important thing is the support and comfort that you can offer those survivors. This is even more important than the knowledge because every single situation is different from the other and so it is essential to be supportive and listen attentively to each and every case.
Sexual abuse or sexual assault is a genuine threat to the security of women. Every year thousands of women face this crisis and suffer from the threats of the perpetrators. But what be done if someone becomes a victim to such an act? Fortunately, today there are many more options available for women who become a victim of this rising crime statistic. Aside from going to the police there are numerous agencies and support centers on hand to help people through this time of need.
Depending on the area you live, you can seek assistance in a variety of ways if this happens to you. Every state in the United States has their help and support centers to fight against domestic violence and sexual abuse. For a list of sexual abuse and domestic violence support centers available in different states of the United States you can visit here for a complete run down.
The main purpose of these support centers and rape crisis centers is to provide help to victims of rape, sexual abuse, and sexual violence. These centers provide a range of services which include crisis hotlines, victim advocacy, community outreach and educational programs. These are social movement organizations which seek to change the social perspective, and particularly to provide a better understanding of a rape situation for medical and legal entities and society at large.
Each organization has a unique set of services which are for the benefit for both the victims and the community. Most professionals at these organizations hold an academic degree in disciplines like women’s studies, public health, psychology, social work and other relevant disciplines. There are also a large number of volunteers who freely give up their time to offer their services in such organizations in the protection and support of women. Every member of such organizations undergoes extensive training through which they learn about legal, societal and cultural aspects of sexual abuse, assault and rape.
The most common services offered by such organizations are as follows:
Crisis hotlines offer 24 x 7 telephone services for support and assistance for abuse victims and rape survivors. These services include free of charge counseling for crisis intervention offering support and comfort for the survivors, explaining and advising legal and medical options, dispelling common rape myths and can also provide referrals for other useful resources as well. These tasks are mostly undertaken by volunteers who offer counseling for the survivors.
Legal advocates are an essential part of rape crisis centers and sexual abuse support centers. They can offer advice and guidance regarding the legal process, assisting them to get protective orders against the perpetrators. They also serve as a constant source of support throughout the process of criminal justice system. However, such organizations are generally neutral in encouraging survivors to take legal steps against their assailants.
Any incident regarding sexual assault, abuse or rape is traumatic on the victim therefore; proper counseling is an important part of the services provided by the rape crisis centers. There are specialized counselors who assist the victims to promote their psychological well-being to overcome the aftermath of the traumatic event through short term or long term counseling.
Medical advocates offer education and guidance about forensic medical options and even accompany the victims to hospital for sexual assault evidentiary examination. It is important to note that in spite of being neutral to encourage legal steps the rape crisis centers often encourage all survivors to go through the medical examination which is also important evidence if the survivors later decide to go forward with legal actions.
Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE):
Every rape crisis center has specially trained nurses who can conduct sexual assault evidentiary examinations for rape or sexual assault survivors. It should be noted that although not all but most of the SANE programs are conducted by the RCCs rather than hospitals. The SANE services are available 24 hours. They also help in collection of evidence and can also provide crisis intervention counseling, and emergency and contraception.
Understanding the 5 Ws of sexual assault is a primary step towards a well rounded awareness that can help you protect yourself from any kind of sexual assault. When you are more alert to the situation around you it is much easier to avoid certain situations or even defend yourself if necessary. The 5 Ws of sexual assault are as follows:
Although it is a common misconception that wearing certain types of clothing provokes sexual assault, in reality it does not work that way. Attackers are looking more for an easy to grab hair style or loose clothing that could potentially be ripped and used to bind their victims. So the most likely targets for sexual assault are women who appear to be more easily grabbed and dragged into a less public area.
Women are reluctant to report the sexual assault and harassment they have experienced because they do not feel comfortable in speaking about such experiences. But there are specialists and counselors trained to deal with these exact crimes and it’s really just a matter of trusting them enough to help.
Most common misconceptions restrict sexual assault to rape and similar but in reality it has a much larger perimeter. Any kind of abusive sexual behavior can be brought under this. Besides that it also extends to the instances of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Therefore, a sexual assault is any conduct of a sexual or indecent nature towards another person and it can be accompanied by or threatened with physical force. This can be further stretched to the inducement of fear, shame or mental suffering of the victim. So any kind of indecent behavior can be considered as sexual assault as well.
Another common misconception is that most sexual assaults are conducted under cover of darkness but actually it is less common to occur during the night than you might think. In fact sexual assaults generally take place when the victim is alone and often during early morning times such as 6am when there are fewer people present to offer any assistance or protection against such attacks. Perpetrators who conduct thes crimes know this very well and take advantage of it. Avoiding being alone in secluded areas such as an early morning jog on a park perimeter is one of the best ways to avoid such an occurrence.
The most common places of sexual assault are at parking lots where you are also most likely to be alone. In fact any similar isolated place can be an ideal spot for a sexual assault to take place as well. It is unlikely a perpetrator would take a chance on committing an act of violence in the presence of a lot of people. Often the predators stalk their victim until she reaches a more private area before making a move. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid isolated places as much as possible. In the case of a parking lot, always be wary of your surroundings so you are less vulnerable and more prepared to fight back. Do not stay absentmindedly listening to music with both headphones in such places as this will reduce your awareness about your surroundings.
Rather than the common belief of sexual attacks being motivated by a sexual desire, in most cases it is a sense of power and control over victims that is the main driving force. It is the feeding of ego that the attacker is interested in, which is the reason that there are victims of all age groups rather than an preponderance of attacks toward women dressed in a provocative manner.
According to the statistics, if anyone can fight back or resist to some extent, most attackers tend to flee the scene. Therefore, it is always a good idea to stay prepared to fight back. It is advisable to keep something handy that can help you to fight back like a stun gun, pepper spray or any other such that you can use in a hurry. Don’t be afraid to make a lot of noise either, especially if potentially within earshot of passers by. The perpetrator is often looking for an easy target and is usually not prepared to risk getting caught.
According to the Rape Abuse and Incest Network, RAINN 237,868 women became a victim of sexual assault in the US last year. That equates to 1 person every 2 seconds. As well as 60% of sexual assaults remaining unreported, a staggering 97% of perpetrators will never see jail time. 1 in 5 women will be the victim of a sexual assault in their lifetime with 1 in 4 by the time they finish college. In fact 44% of women assaulted last year were under the age of 18 with 80% being under 30. Approximately 2/3rds of assaults are committed by someone known to the victim with around 38% of rapists being a friend or acquaintance. Hard to believe, these statistics prove the fears faced by women of becoming a victim of sexual abuse are justified.
Why Do So Few Report The Crime To Police?
A common reason why so many women do not want to report their case to the police is the fear of not being believed, being blamed for what has happened or fearing that there is no case to prove and could only be the victim’s word against the perpetrator’s. The most feared situation is if a woman suffers a sexual assault and is then blamed for being at least partially responsible for it on reporting the attack. This helps a lot of perpetrators to escape the law. Other reasons include harassment or threatening/intimidating behaviour by the perpetrator towards the victim.
What Help Options Are There?
It is also natural for any woman to be uncomfortable to speak openly about such an experience. For this reason there are also several other options that can assist a woman to get help if she becomes a victim of any such abuse. Depending on the place of residence, there are several support centers and similar organizations that are on standby with helplines to provide instant assistance for any such incident. If a woman does not feel comfortable or confident enough to go straight to the police, it is always better to seek the assistance of such organizations and rape crisis centers to get help. These organizations consist of specialist nurses, counselors and legal practitioners who can help you through the crisis.
What Is The Government Doing?
There are also several support services and legal measures that have been taken by the government to end violence against women. These steps include ensuring specialist support for sexual violence victims, introducing new legislation to fight against such criminal activities and many others. Increasing social awareness and providing appropriate justice against sexual violence is among the main concerns of the government policies. Besides that the definition of domestic violence and abuse has also been widened to cover maximum ground in offering protection to women of every age group. There are also teenage related abuse and teenage rape prevention campaigns being run to prevent the teenagers falling victim to sexual abuse. Special training and search powers are added for the police department and prosecutors to provide better protection for victims of stalking and other sexual abuse.
What Else Can You Do?
Women should remember that even if the rate of sexual abuse and sexual violence is still at an alarming rate, you should not feel helpless as there many organizations to turn to and if the awareness can be increased and spread wider, it is possible to have a serious impact on sexual violence for good. For the women who are concerned about their security, if you can be more alert of your circumstances and report any suspicious activity that is making you uncomfortable, it would be easier for the authorities to take the necessary steps immediately to offer better protection from potential sexual crime. read this article on steps to reduce your chances of sexual assault. You can stop many potential acts of sexual violence from happening in the first place.
Most insurance policies will not cover the liabilities of a sexual abuse perpetrator through insurance coverage. No insurance coverage is intended to cover up intentional criminal acts or else it might be considered to indirectly support the crime itself. Therefore the person will have to pay the court judgment as their own individual liability.
However, there can be certain differences in the case of negligence liability claims. In such cases a claim can be made against the employer of the perpetrator, landlord or hotel where for example, there is a lack of adequate security. Notwithstanding, for the most part, courts have reasoned that sexual abuse is an act of wilful intention of the perpetrator himself and therefore should not be attributed to the negligence of the employer or the hotel management.
Having said that, if the act of abuse is committed by any means on behalf of or with active encouragement and support of the corporation it can be attributed to the corporation. For example, if the act of abuse is meant for the purpose of sale of pornography and the corporation has direct or indirect financial gains through the implicated act, the intention of the corporation can be directly linked to the intention of the perpetrator himself. In this case, the liability of the perpetrator may be considered on behalf of the corporation as a whole. If such an act can be proved to be the kind of routine activity condoned under a general practice or policy of the corporation, the act of abuse can fall under the liability of the corporation even if it was not committed for the benefit of the corporation.
According to liability insurance, which is a compulsory insurance for corporations at risk of being sued by third parties on the basis of negligence, this covers a good deal of areas involving risk factor and negligence. However, in general terms this type of insurance generally covers sectors which deliberately engage in activities which can cause injury or loss to someone else.
Therefore, Public policy mandates that certain sectors, corporations or individuals must carry insurance to ensure that if their activity causes any damage, injury or loss to a third party, there should be the availability of money in order to pay for the compensation. Because of the range and diversity of the reasons of causing harm to a third party there is the availability of a wide range of liability insurance policies. For further knowledge on this please visit liability insurance.
The bottom line is that there is no such availability of any insurance policy that can directly cover up the costs for criminal acts like sexual assault but there are certain loopholes in liability insurance policies which can be exploited. If there is the presence of adequate evidence indicating, for example, an employer is somehow complicit with the motives of the perpetrator, there may alternative routes of litigation.
Careers in criminal law relating to sexual offenses span a wide range of physical assault and violence of a sexual nature against another person. For any victim of a sexual assault, it is clearly important to get the best assistance possible when seeking justice. To this end there are a host of lawyers who specialize in different kinds of sexual abuse cases to provide this assistance.
Sexual assault lawyers can take up the responsibility of providing legal advice and representation to clients who are either the victims of sexual assault or the ones being accused of sexual assault. It is their duty to gather the required information and evidence in support of their client. This is a neutral ground and, as with any other criminal lawyers, sexual assault lawyers also have the responsibility to either prove the guilt or innocence of the accused or bring justice to the victim. Therefore, it falls under their purview to obtain police records, interview victims and witnesses and conduct any other legal research necessary to ensure the victim or accused are properly represented. In many cases, lawyers specializing in sexual assault are able to provide emotional guidance and support to distraught victims.
In order to become a sexual assault lawyer, it is essential to have a bachelor’s law degree from an accredited law school. To gain acceptance into any law school it is required to obtain at least a satisfactory score. In order to specialize in sexual assault it is necessary that the prospective lawyer completes additional courses in sexual assault, criminal law and justice and legal writing. However, in most law schools the completion of an internship is also required before completing graduation. Most sexual assault lawyers opt for internships or clerkships at law firms before starting out individual practices. This helps them establish valuable connections and experience in the field. In the meantime, it is important they complete regular continuing legal education to maintain their license. This is crucial in helping them stay up to date with the law and keeping on top of the ever changing skill set of requirements.
As for the career prospects of sexual assault lawyers, it is an important fact that a growing population and increasing number of sex crimes demand the need of specialist lawyers. However, the job requirements of these lawyers are not only relatively high but also come with high competition. Most sexual assault lawyers find that a good academic record in combination with extensive experience in the field lead to them to the best success rate when it comes to finding highly sought after job opportunities.
For people with a strong interest in criminal law and a preference for sexual abuse law, choosing a career focusing on cases of a sexual nature is a good idea as a more targeted focus will greatly increase your chances of success. Based on location, the average annual salary of a sexual assault lawyer can be around $50-52,000. It is essential to have a strong understanding of the rules and regulations of sexual assault law as well as good skills in problem solving and communication. As there may be the need to deal with clients who have suffered mental trauma, a sexual assault lawyer will also need to have excellent people skills in order to gather the necessary information. This is especially true when it comes to victims of abuse who may find it difficult to talk about their experience.
Providing justice to the victim of an assault or in protecting a wrongly accused client requires a high level of responsibility. It is up to the lawyer to act with the utmost of integrity and have their clients’ best interests at heart.
If you are interested in a career working with victims of sexual assaults, forensic nursing may be something that interests you. Although relatively new to the nursing profession, it has become an increasingly popular choice with an increasing number of course options and locations becoming available.
Forensic nursing spans both healthcare and law enforcement, applying the art and science of nursing to civil and criminal legal matters. As well as being trained to provide care to the victims of sexual assault or rape, forensic nurses are highly specialized in collecting and recognizing the evidence of abuse following an attack. This is a highly sensitive and essential part of their job.
Who do forensic nurses typically work for?
Most nurses trained in forensics work for or in hospitals, jails and correction departments. Many also work for insurance companies and law enforcement agencies as private consultants. Forensic nurses typically receive higher pay than their nursing counterparts because of the higher training involved. Salaries are also often dependent on the location and particular specialty. Salary can also rise if working in hospital risk management, attorneys or insurance companies, as well as coroners or fee-for-service practices.
How does forensic nursing education differ from other nursing programs?
The main differences are brought about by the requirements of interfacing between both fields of law enforcement and healthcare. This necessitates a special degree of in-depth training since what on the surface might appear to be disparate areas of expertise such as mental health and judicial systems are in fact part of the same skill set for a forensic nurse. The training aims to cover all the needs of the forensic nurse such that they are able to work well with victims of sexual assault, rape, pediatric trauma, domestic violence and other traumas a patient might be experiencing. They can act to help in the investigation of a crime scene as well as provide expert testimony in the potential conviction of an assailant.
What are the challenges for a forensic nursing career?
Being a forensic nurse can be a fast-paced, stressful and often upsetting world to be in so one of the challenges for a forensic nurse is to remain calm and focused on the job in hand. Forensic nurses usually work separately from emergency room staff in hospitals so they are able to perform the thorough physical examinations without distraction and so that they are able to devote their time to the patients’ physical and mental recovery. Because victims are sometimes unwilling to explain exactly what has happened to them, it can be left up to the forensic nurse to decipher any physical markings that may determine the nature of the crime committed and how the injuries were incurred.
One of most important ways of reducing the risk of a sexual assault is to trust your instinct. If you feel uncomfortable about a situation you find yourself in or a person you are with, then look to remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible. Always try to be aware of your surroundings. If you find yourself not knowing where you are if you are walking down a street at night you should at least appear that you do. Be calm and confident in the way that you walk, with purpose and a steady pace. Try to keep to well lit areas and avoid dark alleys- the more people there are around the safer you’ll be. If there is no one else around, it will be more difficult to call for help should you need it.
Avoid weighing yourself down with too many bags as this may make you appear more vulnerable. If you’re a music lover you might want to reconsider having both headphones in if you’re on own at night or early hours of the day as this might compromise your awareness of your surroundings. It’s also a good idea to make sure your cell phone is charged up and you have enough money to cover a cab ride home in case you find yourself in an uncomfortable predicament.
If you are in a position where someone is pressuring you to partake in sexual activity, remember that being in this position is not your fault. The person who is making you feel uncomfortable is to blame. Be true to yourself and only do what you feel comfortable doing. If necessary and you don’t want to hurt the person’s feelings, it might be a good idea to make up an excuse such as you are not feeling well or promised to meet a family member. Perhaps if you have been drinking, you could suggest postponing anything until you have your full judgement. If the situation gets worse, consider the easiest way to escape the room. It is also a good idea to have a code word to use should you be able to make a call home or to a friend so as not to alert the person of your concerns. Then a friend or family member can come and collect you or think of an pressing reason for you to leave immediately.
If you are attending a party, try to arrive and leave with the same group of friends. Check in with each other often to make sure no one is experiencing any issue. Don’t be afraid to tell a friend if someone is worrying you, or if you believe a friend has cause for concern with someone else. Avoid leaving drinks unattended or accepting drinks from people you are not sure about. If you are asked to go off somewhere alone, make sure you let one of your friends know what you are up to or let the person know you are just hanging out with your friends. As always, be aware of your surroundings so you can quickly assess if a situation is getting out of control and you need to extricate yourself quickly.
If you a student the chances of being assaulted are greater. See this resource for more information about how to reduce you risk of sexual assault on campus.