The Alliance has compiled a number of resources available for survivors, their friends and families, and professionals assisting survivors in New York City.
Facts for Survivors Who Choose to Press ChargesContents
Our laws do not differentiate between a known and unknown attacker. As a practical matter, the better the victim knew the perpetrator, especially when they had a previous consensual sexual relationship, the harder it is to prove lack of consent. It is even more difficult if the offender did not use force, threats or a weapon. Fortunately, there is a clear trend for the criminal justice system to prosecute more of these acquaintance sexual assault cases. Recently, the legal definition of lack of consent was amended to include any situation in which the victim "clearly expressed" that he or she was not consenting in the sex act and a "reasonable person" in the perpetrator’s situation "would have understood" the victim’s words and acts as "an expression of lack of consent."
If the perpetrator is found guilty, what will the sentence be?
Sentencing is very complicated and depends on many factors. Sexual offenses are categorized in a range of classes of felonies and misdemeanors; sentencing for each offense varies. The District Attorney must also make decisions as to the prosecutorial strength of any given case, whether to include a lesser charge, and plea-bargaining. Some other factors include:
Are any other crimes ever charged in relation to a sexual assault?
Sometimes other offenses occur along with a sexual offense. Some of the more common ones are:
What is statutory rape?
Statutory rape occurs when sexual contact between two people involves one that is unable to consent under New York State Law. There are three legal categories for felony statutory rape:
However, it is an "affirmative defense" in all cases if the accused is less than 4 calendar years older than the victim. This means that if the defense can prove that the defendant is less than four years older than the victim, the jury must find the defendant not guilty, regardless of whether the prosecution proves that the defendant did have sex with the victim.
When can a sexual assault NOT be prosecuted?
Not every sexual assault can be prosecuted as a crime under the laws of New York or in the judgment of the criminal justice system.
Some reasons that a crime cannot be prosecuted are:
If I was raped, can I sue for money damages after a rape?
Yes. You can sue your landlord if his/her negligent maintenance of the building was a substantial cause of the assault. Under certain circumstances, a business, school, etc. can be sued if they negligently hired and/or maintained a dangerous employee. These lawsuits must be brought within a specific time period -- sometimes as little as thirty days. You should be able to consult with an attorney for no fee and not pay unless the lawsuit is successful.
For more information...
Making signs for the Rally to Take Rape Seriously