Tahira Khan Merritt Campus rape, Child abuse, Clergy abuse, Emotional Abuse, Injuries, Medical Treatment, Pedophilia, Psychiarty, Rape Victims, Reporting Rape, Sexual Abuse, Sexual abuse attorney, Sexual Assault, Sexual exploitation, Sexual harassment, Sexual violence, Title IX, Title VII, Trauma, Uncategorized, Verbal Abuse Abuse, attorney, Campus rape, children, clergy, college, counsel, criminal, emotional, Sexual Abuse, sexual harassment, Sexual violence, Substance Abuse, treatment, victim, women 0
Dallas Personal Injury Law Blog
Our Guest Blogger this week is Chris Elkins of DrugRehab.com. Chris is a senior writer for DrugRehab.com. This informative blog discusses evidence-based treatment options, recovery resources and trends in the treatment of drug abuse and addiction.
Trauma is one of the most common precursors to substance abuse, and decades of research show trends in addiction and problematic drug use among men and women who have been sexually assaulted. That’s because sexual assault often leads to post-traumatic stress disorder, a mental health condition characterized by flashbacks, anxiety and depression.
Continue reading How Sexual Abuse Can Lead to Substance Abuse, Finding Help and Healing…
Many of you have seen the Academy Award winning film Spotlight. If have not, you really should. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1895587/
The film depicts the clergy abuse crisis in the Catholic Church spanning a thirty year period and ends with the Boston Globe 2002 expose of the Archdiocese of Boston. Today the Church considers the “crisis” old news. Unfortunately, it is not. Priests continue to molest children and Youth-serving organizations continue to cover up these unspeakable crimes.
As A Victim Of Sexual Assault, You Have The Right:
- To be protected from harm or threats;
- To have a trained Advocate present during a forensic medical examination if one is available and if the advocate’s presence would not impede treatment of the victim’s medical condition.
- To counseling and testing for AIDS and HIV-related infections;
This week the Association of American Universities (AAU) released results of a major, comprehensive study of sexual assault on university campuses. 27 national universities participated.
They may not make the national news too frequently, but minors in rural areas are sexually assaulted – very often.
Federal and state legislatures have enacted laws designed to protect minors from registered sex offenders. Adopted in 1996, Megan’s Law created a nationwide sex offender registry. Every state followed suit. Codified in California Penal Code, §§ 290 et seq. (including a voter-approved measure known as “Jessica’s Law”) regulates the residency of registered sex offenders. It prohibits registered sex offenders from residing within 2,000 feet of a school or park. Another California statute regulates loitering by registered sex offenders. It provides that any §290 registrant who “loiters about any school or public place at or near which children attend or normally congregate” is guilty of a misdemeanor. Megan’s Law requires both registration and notification. Within a specified time after their release from prison, registered sex offenders must register their addresses with local police; then, the public and past victims are notified of the offender’s presence in the neighborhood.
Self-Harm or Self-Injury is when people physically harm themselves usually without suicidal thoughts. Some victims of sexual violence use self-injury as a way to cope with painful feelings associated with the trauma. Many of my clients have told me that “cutting” helps them focus on something other than the painful memories and recurring thoughts of their abuse or that self-harm is a means to numb the pain they feel and feel in “control.” This urge can be so strong that a recurring cycle of self-harm may cause infection, and even life-threatening medical problems.
One in five women is sexually assaulted in college, but only about 12 percent report the sexual assault to police. Earlier this year, the Obama administration announced Title IX investigations of 86 schools suspected of denying students their equal right to education by inadequately handling sexual-violence complaints; if found in violation, each school runs the risk of financial penalties, including having its federal funding revoked. https://www.notalone.gov/. What is Title IX?
Tahira Khan Merritt Abuse lawyer, Injuries, Medical Treatment, Psychiarty, Psychiatry, Sexual Abuse, Sexual abuse attorney, Sexual Assault, Sexual violence, Trauma Abuse, assault, attorney, civil, counsel, criminal, emotional, law enforcement, lawyer, Rape, reporting, Sexual Abuse, Sexual violence, treatment, victim 0
By Michael Bettencourt On March 22, 2017
Tahira Khan Merritt Child abuse, Rape Victims, Sexual Abuse, Sexual Assault, Sexual exploitation, Sexual violence Abuse, attorney, civil, counsel, criminal, law enforcement, lawyer, Rape, Sexual Abuse, Sexual violence, Substance Abuse 0
Child Sexual Abuse is a National Problem.
A national survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control estimates 12.3% of female rape victims and 27.8% of male rape victims were first raped when they were age 10 or younger. The fact is the majority of sexual assaults – some studies put the number at 60% – are never reported.
What is the difference between civil sex-abuse litigation and criminal sex-abuse prosecution?
Civil claims are brought by victims against wrongdoers—perpetrators and enablers– to recover money damages for their injuries. Criminal actions are brought by the state to assess societal punishment against wrongdoers for their actions.
What is a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations is the maximum amount of time allowed by law that a person can bring suit against any potential wrongdoers and enablers who caused or contributed to injury. While civil statutes of limitations can be retroactive, criminal statutes of limitations cannot. What this means is that once a criminal statutes of limitations runs out, even a guilty perpetrator cannot be criminally charged, thus placing more children in harm’s way. But again, importantly, civil statutes of limitations can be applied retroactively in child sexual abuse cases.
Civil statutes of limitations vary from state to state and from claim to claim. For example, limitations applicable to a lawsuit based on personal injury is different from one based on a contract disputes. To make matters more complicated, each state may have statutes of limitations set to begin “running” at different time periods, depending on the nature of the case. For example, some statutes of limitations begin to “run” at the time of the injury and others when the injury is discovered. In cases where minors are involved, limitations are “tolled” or suspended until minors turn eighteen. Finally, in some rare instances, statutes of limitations are indefinitely suspended due to the plaintiff’s incapacity or mental defect.
What is “Window Legislation”?
Civil statutes of limitations are created by state legislatures, so they can be changed. Thus, a legislature can enact so-called “Window Legislation”, which essentially allows a specified period of time during which civil claims that would otherwise have been barred by law can be brought to court. In other words, it allows victims who were abused as children access to the courts regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred.
Why Texans Needs A Window For Child Abuse Victims
Current Civil Statutes of Limitations favor the abusers over the victims.
Currently in Texas the civil statute of limitations extends five years after the victim turns eighteen if the injury is based on sexual assault. In other words, victims of sexual assault must file a civil suit before their twenty-third birthday. The reality is that most victims find the courage to speak out and confront their abuser only after the statute of limitations has run out. The consensus among experts in the mental health field is that child victims of sexual abuse frequently repress and suppress memories associated with the event until their adult years. Further, children who have been sexually abused are often not diagnosed with depression or anxiety until they are in thirties, forties and even fifties.
A Window protects potential victims by identifying predators.
Public disclosure in civil proceedings of previously unknown predators prevents other il proceeding prevents tir rther, children who have been sexually abused are often not diagnosed with depression or anxichildren from being abused in the future since predators usually prey on more than one victim. By bringing a civil claim and identifying a predator, a victim who was not able to bring criminal charges timely can still protect other children by the same abuser from committing additional sex crimes in the future.
Access to court offers closure for victims—and justice.
Law is designed to provide remedies– to right wrongs. A legislative window simply provides former child victims a specified and limited time period within which they as adults, can have access to the courts. The burden of proof in a civil case is still on the person bringing the suit to prove that the abuse occurred, that legal injuries resulted from it and that, in short, the complaint has merit and is not frivolous. Our legal system has procedural rules in place to discourage the filing of frivolous claims.
 Black M, Basile KC, Breiding MJ, Smith SG, Walters ML, Merrick MT, Chen J, Stevens MR. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey(NISVS): 2010 Summary Report. Atlanta GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2011.
 Justice Department, National Crime Victimization Survey: 2008-2012
Tahira Khan Merritt Campus rape, Rape Victims, Sexual Abuse, Sexual Assault, Sexual violence, Title IX Abuse, assault, attorney, campus, college, Rape, reporting, schools, Sexual Abuse, Sexual violence, university, victim, victims 0
According to a recent survey conducted by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) a former sex crimes prosecutor, 41 percent of institutions of higher education have not investigated a single report of sexual violence in the past five years. The survey was sent to 440 institutions of higher education responsible for educating more than five million students; 319 schools completed the survey.
Additionally, the survey revealed:
- 31 percent of institutions have failed to trained their students on sexual violence issues and 21 percent have failed to train their faculty and staff on these topics.
- 22 percent of institutions have their athletic departments conduct “in-house” investigations when sexual assaults involve student athletes rather than local law enforcement.
- More than 10 percent of institutions failed to assign a Title IX coordinator to monitor investigations into alleged sexual violence, in violation of federal law.
- 30 percent of institutions failed to train campus law enforcement officials on responding to sexual violence.
- 73 percent of institutions failed to enact protocols regarding “campus actors” and coordination with local law enforcement following a report of sexual assault.
The finding of this survey are indeed very disturbing.
In our experience at the Law Offices of Tahira Khan Merritt with litigation involving sexual assaults at colleges and universities, students-victims are often afraid to report sexual assault because of shame and guilt, especially if the assailant is a popular student or athlete or the incident is considered a “date rape.” Many times institutions argue the sexual assault was “consensual” especially if the victim had been drinking or taking drugs. Also, if the assault is reported only to campus police, often key forensic evidence is not collected making criminal prosecution of the assailant more difficult. In some cases the assailant is even allowed to remain on campus while the victim is shunned or forced to leave the school.
Congressional leaders are soon expected to soon introduce legislation to combat this crisis. Please write your elected officials and ask them to make the sexual assault prevention at our universities and college students a priority.
If you or a loved one is a victim of sexual abuse or sexual assault at a college or university the Law Offices of Tahira Khan Merritt stands ready to help you with your legal needs. Please contact our offices today at 214-503-7300 or through our website https://tkmlawfirm.com/.
You can also find us on social media at www.facebook.com/childrensexabuseattorneys
Hiring an attorney for a potential civil case can be a daunting task for many survivors. As victims of sexual assault who were so badly violated and betrayed their trust issues with authority figures are understandable. They often are wary not only of lawyers but of the legal system as well. Nevertheless, they must hire a lawyer but importantly, one with understanding, knowledge and relevant experience to be an effective advocate.
Here are basic questions any sex crime victim should ask BEFORE hiring a civil attorney to represent him or her in the complex area of sex abuse litigation.
- Is the lawyer’s practice focused on or specialized in representing victims of crime or does the lawyer work on cases other than sexual assault such as car wrecks, trucking cases, criminal cases, family law, business litigation and other injury cases? What is the lawyer’s track record with her peers and former clients? Do they have a good reputation in the community? Is the lawyer licensed in the State where the crime occurred so they are knowledgeable about the laws there? Have they been disciplined by the State Bar organization?
Specialized experience as a crime victim’s lawyer is an important measure of effectiveness. You should research the lawyer by looking at her website, social media and local State Bar website to make sure that she specializes in the area of law you need representation in and that she is a member in good standing in the State where she is licensed. Representing victims of sexual abuse and assault is very different from handling car wreck cases and other types of personal injury litigation. Each state has different laws applicable to civil remedies available to victims of crime so it is important that the attorney is licensed in that state or has a reputable practice to associate
- Has the lawyer ever defended or represented organizations or perpetrators in a civil or criminal sexual abuse case?
You should inquire whether the lawyer is advocate exclusively for crime victims rather than someone who ‘works both sides of the fence’ and also defends institutions, insurance companies and sex abusers. Lawyers are ethically obligated to disclose any such potential conflict of interest.
- Did the lawyer take the time to listen to you? Were you asked detailed questions and do you feel comfortable with them?
Did the lawyer truly listen to you? It’s a matter of having a good heart-to-heart consultation to be sure you are a fit and that you can establish a trusting relationship. It is important to openly and confidentially share information so that your potential case can be properly evaluated.
Hiring the right lawyer to understand the complex legal issues involved in a sexual assault case can be an intimidating process, so asking the right questions help to build a relationship based on transparency and trust.
The Law Office of Tahira Khan Merritt exclusively represents victims of sexual abuse and sexual assault. We stand ready to help you with your legal needs. If you were sexually assaulted or sexually abused, our law firm can help explain your legal remedies. For almost twenty years, we have represented victims of sex crimes in civil cases against institutions, including colleges and universities, religious organizations, such as the Catholic church, Baptist church, Greek Orthodox church, Episcopal Church, and Presbyterian church among others. We have also represented victims of sexual abuse in schools, youth sports organizations, youth camps, daycares, scouting and the like. You may confidentially contact our office at 214-503-7300 or through our website : https://tkmlawfirm.com/.