woman testifying on the stand in court with judge in the backgroundAs a victim of sexual assault or sexual abuse, you have the right to hold your abuser civilly liable for the harm they have caused. While these cases are not easy to win, they do require a lower burden of proof for a guilty verdict than a criminal case. That means that even if the abuser was not convicted in a criminal court due to a lack of evidence, they could be found liable in a civil court with the same evidence. We help victims understand what evidence they will need to secure a guilty verdict in a civil case and what they would stand to gain.

Evidence That Can Be Presented in a Civil Sexual Assault Case

Instead of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, a civil plaintiff only needs to establish liability by a preponderance of the evidence. This means the evidence must show that it is more likely than not that the alleged sexual assault or abuse occurred.

Various types of evidence can be presented to support the plaintiff's claims, including the following:

  • Testimony of the victim. Your testimony as the victim is a critical piece of evidence in a civil case. You may recount the details of the alleged assault or abuse, providing insight into the circumstances and the emotional and physical impact on you.
  • Witness testimony. Other witnesses who observed your distress, interactions with the accused, or the aftermath of the incident may testify to support your claims.
  • Medical record. Medical records can document your injuries or physical evidence consistent with the alleged sexual assault or abuse. Medical professionals may provide expert testimony to explain the significance of the injuries.
  • Forensic evidence. Forensic evidence, such as DNA, that was collected from your body, clothes, or the crime scene can link the accused to the incident.
  • Video or audio recordings. If the assault or abuse was recorded, such as in cases of surveillance footage or recorded phone calls, the recordings can serve as compelling evidence.
  • Text messages and emails. Communications between you and the accused, especially those that reference the incident or imply non-consensual behavior, may be submitted as evidence.
  • Social media. Social media posts, online messages, or other digital communications related to the incident or the relationship between you and the accused may be used as evidence.
  • Prior similar acts. Evidence of prior similar acts committed by the accused can be admissible to establish a pattern of behavior.
  • Expert testimony. Expert witnesses, such as psychologists or counselors, may be called to provide insight into the impact the sexual assault or abuse had on you and the common reactions displayed by survivors.
  • Police report. If law enforcement was involved, the police report and related investigative materials may be submitted as evidence.
  • Documentation of behavioral changes. Evidence of behavioral changes in you after the alleged incident, such as withdrawal, depression, or anxiety, can be presented to support your claim that you have suffered significant losses.
  • Character witnesses. Witnesses who can attest to your character or the character of the accused may be called to present their perspective on the individuals involved.

Whether the evidence was used in your criminal case or was excluded from the criminal case for legal reasons, you can present it in your civil claim in order to get financial compensation from your abuser.

What You Stand to Gain in a Civil Sex Assault Claim

While a successful civil claim will not send your abuser to prison, it will force them to take financial responsibility for the harm they have caused you. Potential damages that can be awarded in civil claims include:

  • Compensatory damages, including medical expenses, therapy costs, lost wages, and other financial losses suffered because of the attack
  • Pain and suffering damages, including compensation for the physical pain and emotional suffering you have experienced, which might include injuries, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other psychological injuries
  • Punitive damages to punish the rapist and deter others from doing the same thing
  • Legal fees to pay your attorney fees and other legal expenses

No amount of money will completely restore what you have lost after being sexually assaulted or abused, but we will fight to get you the maximum possible compensation to make your life a little easier.