Philadelphia Sexual Abuse Lawyer

Navigating the aftermath of sexual abuse can be incredibly challenging. At Meirowitz & Wasserberg, our mission is to provide victims with compassionate legal support and hold perpetrators accountable for their egregious actions. Our team of Philadelphia sexual abuse lawyers is dedicated to helping survivors understand their legal rights and fight for the compensation they deserve. 

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Content Written by: Samuel Meirowitz
Samuel Meirowitz is “Top 100 Trial Lawyer” and an accomplished NYC personal injury lawyer, trial attorney and relentless advocate for his clients. Previously, he served the State of New York for four years as a prosecutor in the Bronx District Attorney’s office. Mr. Meirowitz is admitted to practice law in New York and Florida State Courts.

Samuel Meirowitz is “Top 100 Trial Lawyer” and an accomplished NYC personal injury lawyer, trial attorney and relentless advocate for his clients. Previously, he served the State of New York for four years as a prosecutor in the Bronx District Attorney’s office. Mr. Meirowitz is admitted to practice law in New York and Florida State Courts.

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We believe in empowering survivors through personalized legal representation, ensuring that your voice is heard and your dignity respected. The sexual abuse lawyers at our top-tier Philadelphia law office have the skills, expertise, and resources necessary to handle your case from start to finish. We will guide you through every step, from consultation to trial. 

Do not wait to take legal action. Schedule your free, confidential consultation by calling (215) 867-6510 or filling out our online contact form.

How Can a Philadelphia Sexual Abuse Lawyer Help You?

Our award-winning legal team provides high-quality representation to survivors of sexual abuse. When you work with us, you can rest assured that your case is in capable hands. We have been nationally recognized for the high quality of our services, and our client testimonials reflect our unwavering commitment to helping survivors like you. 

Our expertise not only ensures that survivors are heard but also maximizes their chances of securing justice and compensation for the harm they suffered. Here’s how we can help:

  • Case Evaluation – Survivors of sexual abuse often face a challenging legal landscape. Our attorneys will start by thoroughly evaluating your case, including assessing the evidence available, statutes of limitations, and the governing law. This initial step is crucial for developing a strategic approach.
  • Gathering Evidence – Our attorneys will gather and preserve critical evidence to support your case. This includes collecting medical records, securing expert testimony, obtaining any physical and digital evidence, and identifying witnesses who can corroborate your account.
  • Filing a Lawsuit – Once your case is prepared, our attorneys will file a lawsuit on your behalf. This involves drafting and submitting the necessary legal documents to initiate the case in court while carefully adhering to legal procedures and timelines.
  • Negotiating a Settlement – Many civil cases are resolved through settlements. Our experienced sexual abuse attorneys can negotiate with the defendant’s representatives to reach a settlement that meaningfully compensates you for your injuries and losses, avoiding the need for a trial.
  • Representation in Court – If your case goes to trial, our attorneys will represent you in court, presenting evidence, arguing before a judge or jury, and advocating for your rights and interests.
  • Confidentiality and Sensitivity – Handling cases of sexual abuse requires a high degree of sensitivity and confidentiality. Our skilled lawyers will ensure that your privacy is protected throughout the legal process, helping to minimize the emotional distress involved in pursuing a civil case.
  • Support and Resources – Beyond legal representation, our attorneys also provide survivors with compassionate support and access to resources, such as counseling or support groups, to help them through the emotional and psychological aftermath of abuse.

In summary, our Philadelphia sexual abuse lawyers provide invaluable assistance by combining legal expertise with a deep understanding of the trauma associated with sexual abuse. We’ve helped many survivors fight for justice, reclaim their power, and begin their healing journeys by advocating for their legal rights. 

Types of Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse encompasses a wide range of non-consensual behaviors that violate an individual’s bodily autonomy and integrity. Understanding the various forms of sexual abuse is crucial for prevention, support, and legal action.

Sexual abuse includes rape and attempted rape, sexual assault (e.g., unwanted touching or groping), sexual harassment (e.g., unwelcome sexual advances or comments), and exploitation through human trafficking or forced prostitution. It also includes non-physical forms of abuse, such as cyber sexual harassment, sextortion, and the non-consensual sharing of intimate images. 

Sexual abuse can occur in various settings, including homes, workplaces, schools, and public spaces, and to all individuals regardless of age, gender, or background. In all cases, victims deserve justice and accountability. 

Steps To Take After Sexual Abuse

If you or someone you know has been sexually abused, taking the following steps can be crucial for ensuring safety, securing justice, and beginning the healing process:

  1. Prioritize Safety – If you are in immediate danger, find a safe location away from the perpetrator. This may involve leaving the situation or seeking refuge with a trusted friend, family member, or a public space like a hospital.
  2. Seek Medical Attention – Regardless of whether you intend to report the abuse to the police, getting medical care is important. A healthcare professional can treat injuries, test for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), provide emergency contraception, and collect forensic evidence if you decide to report the abuse later.
  3. Report the Abuse – Reporting the abuse to the police can be a critical step in seeking justice. While this decision is deeply personal, law enforcement can take steps to prevent further harm and hold the perpetrator accountable.
  4. Document the Incident – If possible, write down everything you remember about the incident, including the date, time, location, and any details about the perpetrator. This can be helpful for both medical care and legal action.
  5. Reach Out for Support – Contact a local sexual assault hotline, a counselor, or a support group. Organizations like RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) in the U.S. provide confidential support and can connect you with resources.
  6. Preserve Evidence – Avoid bathing, washing, or changing clothes if you plan to report the abuse, as this can preserve valuable forensic evidence. If you do change, place clothing in a paper bag to avoid contamination.
  7. Speak with an Attorney – A legal professional specializing in sexual abuse cases can offer guidance on your rights, the potential for civil action, and how to navigate the legal system while protecting your interests.
  8. Engage in Self-Care – Healing from sexual abuse is a deeply personal and often lengthy process. Engage in activities that promote your mental and physical well-being, and consider seeking professional help from a therapist who specializes in trauma and sexual abuse.

Remember, survivors react to sexual abuse in different ways, and there’s no “right” way to cope. What’s most important is taking steps that feel right for you, at your own pace, and seeking support when you’re ready.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse in Philadelphia, PA?

In Philadelphia, a few separate deadlines, called the statute of limitations, apply to sexual abuse cases. If you don’t submit your claim within this deadline, you may forfeit your ability to pursue legal action against the perpetrator. 

Children and minors who experienced sexual abuse have until their thirtieth birthday to file a civil lawsuit. At the same time, the criminal statute of limitations is capped at the age of adulthood plus 32 years. Adults who experience sexual abuse have 12 years to file a criminal lawsuit and two years to file a civil lawsuit.

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Understanding Sexual Abuse Laws in Pennsylvania

It is essential that you know your legal rights as a victim of sexual abuse. Pennsylvania law outlines numerous protections, including:  

  • Protection From Abuse Order – A PFA Order makes it illegal for abusers to contact you or your children for up to three years. 
  • Sexual Violence Protection Order – Victims of sexual abuse can request an SVP Order to protect them against their abuser even if criminal charges have not been filed. 
  • Rape Shield Law – This law restricts a defendant’s ability to introduce evidence or cross-examine rape victims regarding past sexual behavior that may undermine credibility.
  • Sexual Assault Testing and Evidence Collection Act This law bolsters the rights and resources available to sexual abuse victims who decide to have evidence collected

Seeking Justice for Child and Adult Sexual Abuse Survivors in Philadelphia

Seeking justice for survivors of child and adult sexual abuse requires the skilled attention of an attorney. The process can vary but typically involves the following:

  1. Evidence collection – After a consultation, your lawyer will gather pertinent evidence, such as medical records, police reports, and witness statements, to begin constructing a case. 
  2. Filing complaints – Next, your lawyer will file a complaint with the appropriate court outlining the allegations. 
  3. Serving the defendant – Your lawyer will then serve the defendant with the complaint and summons. 
  4. Discovery phase – During this phase, each party will exchange relevant information and evidence, such as requests for documents or depositions. 
  5. Pre-trial motions – Before trial, the court will address any pre-trial motions either party filed, such as motions to dismiss certain claims or evidence. 
  6. Trial – If your case isn’t resolved through settlement, it will proceed to court. During this phase, both parties will present their arguments and evidence.
  7. Verdict and judgment – After hearing the evidence and arguments from both sides, the judge or jury will deliberate and determine a verdict. If the court rules in your favor, they may award relief or damages. 
  8. Appeals – If the judge or jury rules against you, your lawyer will evaluate appeals options. In an appeal, the court will review the record and legal arguments to determine whether errors warrant a new trial or a different outcome. 
  9. Enforcement of judgment – If the court awards damages or other relief, certain steps may be necessary to enforce the decision, such as garnishing wages or placing liens on the defendant’s property. 

It’s important to note that the specific steps and timelines involved in a sexual abuse lawsuit can vary. While the process may seem daunting, having help from a skilled Philadelphia sexual abuse lawyer makes a world of difference. 

Civil vs. Criminal Proceedings in Sexual Abuse Cases

Criminal and civil sexual abuse proceedings differ primarily in their objectives, parties involved, and outcomes. While criminal cases focus on punishing the offender, civil cases concentrate on compensating the victim. 

Criminal Prosecution Civil Lawsuits
Criminal proceedings are initiated by the state against the accused perpetrator to address crimes against society, aiming for punishment through fines, incarceration, and other penalties. The burden of proof is “beyond a reasonable doubt.”  Civil proceedings, on the other hand, are initiated by the victim (plaintiff) against the perpetrator (defendant) or other responsible parties to seek compensation for damages suffered due to the abuse. The burden of proof is “preponderance of the evidence,” a lower threshold than in criminal cases. 

What Type of Compensation Is Available to Sex Abuse Victims in Philadelphia, PA?

In a lawsuit for sexual abuse, compensation can be awarded to the victim for their suffering and losses endured due to the abuse. This compensation can include:

  • Economic Damages – These are intended to cover the monetary costs incurred by the victim, such as medical expenses for physical and psychological treatment, lost wages or earning capacity, and the cost of future care.
  • Non-economic Damages – This includes compensation for the physical pain and emotional distress experienced by the victim as a result of the abuse. It acknowledges the psychological impact of abuse, including depression, anxiety, PTSD, and loss of enjoyment of life.
  • Punitive Damages – Although not available in all cases, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the perpetrator for particularly egregious conduct and to deter similar actions in the future.
  • Restitution – In some criminal cases, courts may order restitution, which can include reimbursing the victim for out-of-pocket costs directly related to the abuse.

Each case is unique, and the amount of compensation awarded can vary widely based on the specifics of the abuse and the extent of the harm suffered. Our law firm has secured over $360 million in settlements and verdicts for our clients. You can count on us to aggressively pursue each and every penny you are entitled to by law. 

What Kind of Evidence Do You Need for a Sexual Abuse Case in Philadelphia?

Handling evidence in sexual abuse cases requires a careful, respectful approach, acknowledging the gravity of the subject matter and the emotional impact on survivors. Evidence in sexual abuse cases can include but is not limited to:

  • Physical Evidence – This can include DNA samples, clothing, or any objects that might have been involved in or present at the scene of the abuse. Medical records documenting injuries consistent with sexual assault are also crucial.
  • Forensic Evidence – This involves the scientific analysis of physical evidence, such as DNA testing, analysis of fibers, or examination of physical trauma. It can provide objective findings that support the victim’s account of the incident.
  • Digital Evidence – In this day and age, digital footprints can be invaluable. This might include text messages, emails, social media interactions, or digital photographs that corroborate the timing, nature, or dynamics of the relationship between the accused and the victim.
  • Eyewitness Testimony – Although not always available, witnesses who can corroborate aspects of the victim’s account can be powerful. This might include individuals who saw the victim and accused together under circumstances that support the victim’s account.
  • Victim Testimony – The victim’s account is central to sexual abuse cases. While challenging, the detailed recounting of the incident, including the emotional and physical aftermath, is often pivotal. Victim impact statements can also play a crucial role in the sentencing phase in criminal prosecutions.
  • Expert Testimony – Experts in fields relevant to sexual abuse (such as psychology, psychiatry, or forensic medicine) might be called upon to interpret evidence, explain the typical behaviors and reactions of abuse survivors, or discuss the likelihood of injuries being consistent with the reported abuse.
  • Documentation and Records – This can include a wide array of documents such as diaries, calendars, medical and therapy records, or any other documentation that provides context or evidence related to the abuse or its impact on the victim.

The collection, preservation, and presentation of evidence in sexual abuse cases are subject to strict legal standards aimed at ensuring the accuracy and reliability of the evidence while also safeguarding the rights and dignity of all parties involved. Lawyers and law enforcement agencies are trained to handle such evidence with the utmost sensitivity and confidentiality.

Where Can Sexual Assault Victims Find Support and Resources in Philadelphia?

If you’ve been sexually assaulted or abused, you’re not alone. There are numerous federal, state, and municipal support networks and resources in place to help victims of sexual abuse. These include:

Additionally, legal advice from a knowledgeable lawyer and counseling from a mental health professional specialized in sexual abuse can prove invaluable to survivors in need of guidance and support. 

Contact a Meirowitz & Wasserberg Philadelphia Sexual Abuse Lawyer Today

Dealing with the emotional trauma and legal aftermath of sexual abuse can be overwhelming. The compassionate sexual abuse lawyers at our Philadelphia law office are here to make sure you do not face the situation alone. We’ve helped countless victims fight for justice and can help you do the same. 

Reach out by calling (215) 867-6510 or filling out our online contact form to schedule a free, confidential consultation. We are standing by to provide clear, compassionate guidance. 

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I feel so blessed to have had Meirowitz & Wasserberg Law Firm represent my Husband and I in a great time of need in our lives. l highly recommend this firm. Daniel Wasserberg was the most personable, caring lawyer one could ever have. He was always there for our every need with compassion, loyalty and sincerity. He truly cares about his clients. I learned to love this man as a Son.
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