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Sexual Assault at School

Sexual Assault at School

School should be a safe haven. However, students can also be at risk of sexual assault even at school. Teachers or other school employees may target vulnerable students as their sexual victims.

Unfortunately, students who are sexually assaulted can have devastating effects on their academic performance and disrupt their mental stability for the rest of their lives. They can suffer from long-lasting pain, endanger their life, and lose future earnings. 

Victims can choose to sue the perpetrators who sexually harassed them.  Sexual assault lawsuits against teachers and the school may result in judgments for hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. In this way, they can obtain financial compensation.

Vulnerable Students

Vulnerable Students

Children view teachers as authority figures who have a significant degree of influence in their lives.  They not only assign grades but report the behavior to their parents as well. They feel compelled to comply with the teacher’s demands for fear of negative repercussions.

Awareness of sexual assault cases in school has become more known as such cases are recently given attention by the media. This results in both an increase in criminal prosecutions of teachers and students suing for sexual assault. 

Teachers have power over students, which gives them the opportunity to abuse the latter sexually.  Taking action against the teacher and school is essential and helps prevent others from being sexually assaulted. These actions urge schools and governments to take action to protect the children and stop more sexual assaults from happening. 

Penalties for Sexual Assault

Every crime has its corresponding consequences and penalties. For sexual assault, penalties vary depending on the circumstances of the crime and the ages of the involved. 

For adults who commit sexual assault against a victim younger than 12, the punishment may be a fine, life in prison, or both, as the offense is considered a felony. Perpetrators are required to serve a minimum of 25 years before being eligible for parole, and in some cases, the death penalty may be applied. 

Penalties for sexual assaults where both parties are over the age of 18 include a fine and up to 30 years in prison. In such cases, specific circumstances must exist. It may include victims being physically helpless or mentally incapacitated or offenders using threats or violence to intimidate the victim.

Prevention of Sexual Assault at School

School employees have a legal responsibility to take steps to prevent and address sexual harassment issues involving students, teachers, and other employees. They must ensure that they keep the school environment safe and poison-free. They must uphold and respect human rights. 

Disregarding sexual harassment, whether or not someone has formally filed a complaint, is unacceptable. In cases of alleged sexual harassment, the school’s policy should inform all parties of their rights, roles, and responsibilities. 

Policies must set out how sexual harassment will be dealt with promptly and efficiently. An effective sexual harassment policy can limit harm and reduce liability. It also promotes the equity and diversity goals of educational institutions.

More Information about Sexual Assault at School
Types of Sexual AssaultSexual assault comes in different forms. The types of sexual assault include: Rape or attempted rapeAny non-consensual and sexual physical touches, regardless of where it is on the bodyCoercing a victim into touching you or engaging in sexual activityAny instance of force or violence in a non-consensual sexual contextAny sexual act that occurred while a victim was unable to give consentSexual intimidation, such as stalking and threatening to commit an unwanted sexual act against a victimIndecent exposure
Economic Damages from a Sexual Assault CaseThe economic damages brought by sexual assault are:Lost wagesMedical expensesHindered earning capacityOther costs, including transportation or babysitting fees
Non-economic Damages from a Sexual Assault CaseThe non-economic damages brought by sexual assault are:Physical pain and sufferingMental distressFright or paranoiaHumiliationDisabilityDisfigurementExacerbation of a pre-existing conditionLoss of consortium (filed by the victim’s spouse)

An experienced sexual assault lawyer can review the facts of your case and determine if you have a valid claim. Diamond & Diamond Law can discuss it with you and give advice on what’s the best thing to do. Contact us now!


Pro Tip

Florida law states that there is no limitation in filing sexual assault in civil court for victims under 18 years of age.

Sexual Assault Lawyer

A sexual assault case can be very technical, especially for people who have less knowledge in handling such cases. More so with the victim of sexual assault who does not know how to fight for themselves against their perpetrators. 

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted at school, make sure to consult with a sexual assault attorney to guide you with the process of obtaining justice. 
Contact our lawyers from Diamond and Diamond today!

FAQs about Sexual Assault at School

Sexual conduct creates a “hostile environment” when unwelcome sexual conduct is serious enough to limit an individual’s ability to get their work done, learn effectively, or participate in a school activity. It has created a hostile or offensive environment. To create a hostile environment, unwelcome sexual conduct must be both subjectively and objectively offensive. This means that the victim must have been offended by the harasser’s behavior (subjective portion). A reasonable person in the victim’s position would have been offended by the conduct (objective portion).

It depends on the nature and context of the comment. Telling a student to dress more professionally is not sexual harassment. However, a supervisor or faculty member telling a student to wear more revealing, sexy clothes could be seen as sexual harassment. An innocuous compliment, such as “you look nice in that sweater,” would not be harassment. Still, if it were followed up with a sexual reference (“it really shows off your body”), that type of behavior would be inappropriate in a professional or academic setting.

If sexual violence occurs off-campus, the school should provide survivors with information about medical, mental health, victim advocacy, legal assistance, and other available services. Also, if the effects of sexual misconduct that initially occurred off-campus are interfering with the educational environment on campus, the school should offer support and assistance.