Springfield Victim's Advocacy Lawyers
As attorneys, we work with many victims of crime and abuse who feel lost and helpless in the legal system. Victim rights are a fundamental part of our system of justice, and it is important for both victims and attorneys to understand those rights in order to protect and advocate for those who have suffered from crime or abuse.
First, it is important to understand that both crime victims and victims of abuse have the right to be treated with fairness and respect throughout the legal process. This means that all parties involved, including law enforcement, attorneys, and judges, should be sensitive to the victim’s needs and concerns. Victims should never be blamed for the abuse they have suffered and should not be made to feel as though they are somehow responsible for the actions of their abusers or other perpetrators.
Second, victims have the right to be informed of the progress of their case and to be notified of any developments, such as hearings or changes in court dates. Victims also have the right to be present at these hearings and to provide their own statements if they wish to do so.
Third, victims have the right to be protected from further harm through orders of protection or other legal measures. These orders can prohibit criminals or abusers from contacting or coming within a certain distance of the victim, and can also restrict an abuser’s access to firearms.
Get Quick Legal Help
Attorneys Ready to Listen
Finally, victims have the right to seek compensation for any damages resulting from the crime or abuse they have suffered. This happens through a civil claim or lawsuit and can include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and many other items of damage. Whether it is a criminal or civil case, it is important for victims to work with experienced attorneys who can help them navigate the complex legal process and ensure that their rights are protected at every stage of their case.
Ultimately, victim rights are essential to ensuring that those who have been abused or have been victims of crime receive the justice and support they deserve. As attorneys, it is our duty to advocate for our clients and to ensure that their rights are protected throughout the legal process. If you or someone you know has been the victim of abuse or crime, seek the assistance of an experienced attorney who can help guide you through the process and protect your rights.
Crime and Abuse Victim’s Rights
Victims of crime or abuse often have civil claims against their perpetrator or the organizations that allowed the abuse to occur, but that is only part of the battle. In cases of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, there is often a criminal component where you are the victim.
While the prosecutor (the State) wants to do what is right for victims, they are unable to directly represent them. Ultimately a prosecutor’s obligations are to the state, and while they will work with victims pursuant to Article I, Section 32 of the Missouri State Constitution, also known as the Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights, they are often unable to offer the support needed to victims of sexual violence.
Our attorneys are experienced in assisting victims of crime and physical and sexual abuse throughout the criminal process in a personal capacity, working with you to help explain the process and advocate for your constitutional rights. We can make appearances, advocate against changes in a perpetrator’s bond, and help you keep up to date with developments in the case.
Seeking Orders of Protection
Missouri law provides victims of abuse protection from their abusers if certain standards are met. If you have been a victim of domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault, or are in danger of physical harm, you may be entitled to an Order of Protection against your abuser. Typically, these orders will enjoin the perpetrator from contacting you, threatening you, or coming within a certain distance of your home or work. If the Court’s order is violated, you can contact the police to have the perpetrator arrested and charged with a crime.
To have an Order of Protection entered, you must meet certain evidentiary thresholds. Our attorneys are experienced at gathering and organizing the necessary evidence so that you can avoid pitfalls and legal technicalities that could cause you to lose your hearing.
Experienced Victim’s Rights Attorneys
We understand that for many, physical, emotional, or sexual abuse can be a difficult topic to discuss. Although it is never the victim’s fault, abuse is often accompanied by feelings of personal responsibility, embarrassment, shame, or guilt. Our team of experienced abuse victim’s attorneys is trauma-informed and here to support you through this difficult time. We are dedicated to creating an environment where you feel comfortable sharing your experiences, even if it is for the first time. We know that the most difficult step on the road to justice is often the initial decision to reach out to an attorney. We make ourselves available to connect with you in person, by telephone, videoconference, email, or by simply filling out a form and asking us to contact you. Our abuse victim’s attorneys are here to advise and support you from that first step all the way through the completion of your case.
You are not alone.
Crime Victim Rights
Pursuant to Article I, Section 32 of the Missouri State Constitution, you are entitled to:
- The right to be present at all criminal justice proceedings at which the defendant has such right, including juvenile proceedings where the offense would have been a felony if committed by an adult;
- Upon request of the victim, the right to be informed of and heard at guilty pleas, bail hearings, sentencings, probation revocation hearings, and parole hearings, unless, in the determination of the court, the interests of justice require otherwise;
- The right to be informed of trials and preliminary hearings;
- The right to restitution, which shall be enforceable in the same manner as any other civil cause of action, or as otherwise provided by law;
- The right to the speedy disposition and appellate review of their cases provided that nothing in this subdivision shall prevent the defendant from having sufficient time to prepare his defense;
- The right to reasonable protection from the defendant or any person acting on behalf of the defendant;
- The right to information concerning the escape of an accused from custody or confinement, the defendant’s release and scheduling of the defendant’s release from incarceration; and
- The right to information about how the criminal justice system works, the rights and the availability of services, and upon request of the victim the right to information about the crime.
If you have not yet reported the crime or abuse against you to the authorities and wish to do so, our attorneys can help you reach the proper channels. In either event, please feel free to contact us to discuss your options. We are here to help you.
Talk to an Abuse Victim’s Rights Attorney Today
Our attorneys are devoted to fighting for survivors of crimes and abuse. We have been highly successful in achieving results for our clients. Our success has been due in large part to our awareness that each individual client has specific goals and objectives they want to achieve through our representation. These goals have ranged from a desire to spread awareness to prevent future victims from suffering similar abuses, a wish to see justice done to perpetrators and other responsible parties, a need for an experienced attorney to guide them through the legal process in which are involved, and a requirement to obtain monetary compensation to help pay for treatment and rebuild their lives. No matter the specific goals, we are dedicated to empowering our clients to achieve them, and we have the knowledge and experience to help bring those goals to fruition. We are happy to let our results speak for themselves.
In addition to our extensive legal expertise and recognized success as trial attorneys, our experience has led us to develop relationships with a network of leading experts who can not only provide recommendations for treatment, but can help us explain in detail the duties and failures of responsible parties and the serious psychological and emotional damage caused by physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. Our team of attorneys, paralegals, and other staff recognize the value of leaving no stone unturned in the investigation and prosecution of our cases, and our team approach has repeatedly proven beneficial to our clients.
Our team of experienced abuse victim’s rights attorneys is trauma-informed and here to support you through this difficult time. We will fight for your justice, and we will do everything in our power to help you meet your goals, whatever they may be.
What Qualifies as Abuse?
The word abuse covers many different types of harm.
Physical abuse is intentional bodily injury. Some examples include slapping, pinching, choking, kicking, shoving, or inappropriately using drugs or physical restraints.
Sexual abuse is nonconsensual sexual contact (any unwanted sexual contact). Examples include unwanted touching, rape, sodomy, coerced nudity, sexually explicit photographing.
Mental mistreatment or emotional abuse is deliberately causing mental or emotional pain. Examples include intimidation, coercion, ridiculing, harassment, treating an adult like a child, isolating an adult from family, friends, or regular activity, use of silence to control behavior, and yelling or swearing which results in mental distress.
Exploitation occurs when a vulnerable adult or his/her resources or income are illegally or improperly used for another person’s profit or gain. Examples include illegally withdrawing money out of another person’s account, forging checks, or stealing things out of the vulnerably adult’s house.
Neglect occurs when a person, either through his/her action or inaction, deprives a vulnerable person of the care necessary to maintain the vulnerable person’s physical or mental health. Examples include not providing basic items such as food, water, clothing, a safe place to live, medicine, or health care.
Self-neglect occurs when vulnerable adult fails to provide adequately for themselves and jeopardizes his/her well-being. Examples include a vulnerable adult living in hazardous, unsafe, or unsanitary living conditions or not having enough food or water.
Abandonment occurs when a vulnerable adult or child is left without the ability to obtain necessary food, clothing, shelter or health care. Examples include deserting a vulnerable adult or child in a public place or leaving a vulnerable adult or child at home without the means of getting basic life necessities.
The Many Effects of Physical or Sexual Abuse
Physical or sexual abuse can have a profound and lasting impact on victims. The effects will differ from person to person, but some common long-term effects include:
- Anxiety: Anxiety can manifest as panic attacks, social anxiety, or general anxiety.
- Depression: This can range from mild to severe, and it can be short-term or long-lasting.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): This is a mental health condition that can occur after experiencing a traumatic event. Symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, and avoidance.
- Dissociation: This is when a person feels disconnected from their body or their surroundings. It can be a short-term response to trauma or a long-term condition.
- Substance abuse: Many people turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with the pain of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. This can lead to addiction and other serious problems.
- Self-harm: This is when a person intentionally hurts themselves as a way to cope with the pain of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. It can include cutting, burning, or other forms of self-injury.
- Suicidal thoughts: Abuse can lead to feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and despair. This can result in suicidal thoughts or attempts.
Physical injuries are also common, especially in cases of rape or sexual assault. These can include sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, and chronic pain.
If you are experiencing any of these effects, please know that you are not alone. Our attorneys can help you get the support and compensation that you need to heal and move on with your life.
What Qualifies as Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse can take many different forms. It is any type of sexual violence, including:
- Rape: Forcible sexual intercourse. It can be perpetrated by someone of any gender against someone of any gender.
- Attempted rape: Happens when someone tries to force sexual intercourse on another person, but the attempt is unsuccessful.
- Incest: Abuse that occurs between family members. It can involve penetration or non-penetrative sexual acts.
- Child molestation: Any type of sexual abuse that is perpetrated against a child. It can involve penetration or non-penetrative sexual acts.
- Sexual assault: This is any type of sexual touching that is unwanted and/or considered to be abusive. It can involve penetration or non-penetrative sexual acts.
- Sexual harassment: This is any type of unwelcome sexual advances. It can be verbal, physical, or both.
- Unwanted touching or groping: When someone touches another person in a sexual way without their consent.
- Sexual harassment in the workplace: Common examples include unwanted sexual comments or advances, being shown sexually explicit materials, or being asked to engage in sexual acts in exchange for favors.
- Human trafficking: Also known as sex trafficking, this is the process of coercing or forcing someone into sexual servitude.
- Predatory priests: Common examples include priests who sexually abuse children or adults.
- Sexual assault in schools: This can involve students being raped or sexually assaulted by other students, teachers, or staff members.
Above are just a few examples – sexual abuse can really be anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, scared, or violated. We take on even the most complex cases, so please do not hesitate to reach out to us.
Suing for Sexual Abuse
If you have been physically or sexually abused, you may be wondering if you can sue the perpetrator. The answer is yes – you can file a civil lawsuit against the abuser or against any person or organization that either intentionally or negligently allowed the abuse to happen. This can help you get justice and compensation for what you have been through.
If you are thinking about suing for physical or sexual abuse, we can help. Our attorneys have experience handling these types of cases and can help you get the compensation that you deserve.
Compensation for Abuse Victims
Physical and sexual abuse victims often face significant financial burdens. They might need to miss work for appointments or therapy, or they might rack up medical bills from the physical injuries sustained during the abuse. If you have been left with financial problems because of abuse, we can help you get compensation for:
- Medical bills: To cater for all the physical and psychological injuries sustained during the abuse. This can include counseling, medication, and hospitalization costs.
- Lost wages: If you have missed work because of sexual abuse or if you are unable to work because of the psychological effects of the abuse, you might be able to get compensated for lost wages.
- Pain and suffering: Sexual and physical abuse often results in physical and emotional pain. You might be able to get compensated for this pain and suffering.
This is just a partial list – you could be entitled to much more. To learn more about the compensation you might be eligible for, contact us today for a consultation.
Why You Need an Abuse Victim’s Rights Attorney
The legal system can be complex and intimidating, especially if you are already dealing with the aftermath of physical or sexual abuse. That is why it is important to have an experienced abuse victim’s rights attorney on your side. We can help you:
- Gather evidence: We will work with law enforcement and private investigators to gather the evidence you need to prove your case. This can include medical records, eyewitness testimony, and more.
- Build a strong case: We will use this evidence to build a strong legal case against your abuser and the institution that protected them.
- Get a restraining order: If your abuser is making you feel unsafe, we can help you get a restraining order to keep them away from you.
- File a lawsuit: A civil lawsuit can help you get compensation for the injuries and damages caused by sexual abuse. It can also help hold your abuser and their protectors accountable.
- Get the compensation you deserve: No amount of money can make up for what you have been through, but compensation can help you get your life back on track. We will fight to get you the maximum amount of compensation possible.
Talk to a Victims’ Rights Attorneys Today
Contact us today for a consultation with an experienced sexual abuse attorney. We will review your case and help you understand your legal options. Once we take on your case, we will fight diligently to get you the compensation and justice that you deserve.
Don’t wait – contact us today.