It’s important to understand what is considered sexual abuse in Louisiana in order to know how to identify it and take action when you or someone you know experiences it. According to the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH), the following constitutes sexual abuse:
- Unwanted exposure to sexually explicit material, language, or contact
- Being forced or coerced into sexual activities due to fear of harm or retaliation
- Experiencing sexual contact despite an inability to consent
In other words, sexual abuse involves activities or circumstances of a sexual nature in which the victim did not or could not give consent. If the victim does not consent to any sexual contact or activity, but the abuser follows through anyway, Louisiana law considers this a crime. Our firm is here to help you hold the offender responsible.
How Louisiana Law Defines Sexual Abuse Cases
Louisiana has a number of statutes that discuss the different types of sexual abuse and associated penalties. We’ve outlined two of the most severe examples of sexual offenses below, though other circumstances may qualify you to take legal action against an abuser as well.
Under Louisiana law, sexual battery has different levels of severity. In general, any type of sexual battery involves nonconsensual touching of certain areas over or underneath clothing, whether using an instrument or body part.
For example, RS 14:43.1.1 deals with misdemeanor sexual battery. The law defines this charge as an abuser intentionally touching the buttocks or breasts of the victim without consent. RS 14:43.2 outlines second-degree sexual battery as touching the genitals or anus of the victim without consent.
Louisiana law defines rape as any type of sexual intercourse without the consent of the victim. Intercourse in a rape charge encompasses any nonconsensual oral, anal, or vaginal penetration.
The circumstances around the lack of consent determine the severity of a rape charge. For example, first-degree or aggravated rape under RS 14:42 involves resisting the act but being overcome by force or an inability to resist due to:
- Threat of physical harm
- The presence of a dangerous weapon
- Physical or mental infirmity
Under RS 14:42.1, second-degree rape is when the victim is unable to resist because of decreased mental capabilities after ingesting intoxicants or drugs.
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Steps to Take if You Experienced Sexual Abuse in Louisiana
When you or a loved one is the victim of sexual abuse in Louisiana, you have a right to take protective steps and legal action.
Ensuring Your Safety
First, you should focus on the safety of you or your loved one who experienced the abusive situation. Rely on trusted friends and family for support. It’s important to get out of the situation as quickly and safely as possible and visit a hospital to receive care for any physical trauma from the sexual abuse.
The situation could result in criminal charges against the person committing the abuse, and these medical records—such as the results of a rape kit—are valuable evidence law enforcement can use to issue charges. The police also can help you receive protection from a sexual abuser. Note that medical and law enforcement records can also serve as evidence in a civil case.
Reaching Out for Mental Health Support
The American Psychological Association (APA) outlines the importance of taking care of your mental health after your experience. Sexual abuse can lead to serious trauma, affecting the victim’s ability to enjoy the highest quality of life. Hospital personnel and doctors should be able to help sexual abuse victims find the support they need to address symptoms of PTSD, depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions that result.
If you are worried about affording therapy and other care regarding your physical and mental health, our firm is here for you. Through a civil case, you could recover compensation for these expenses, as well as other damages you face because of the abuse.
Seeking Legal Assistance
Our law firm helps victims of sexual abuse with filing a personal injury lawsuit against the abuser or against the organization that allowed the abuse to happen. Through a personal injury lawsuit, you may receive compensation for emotional trauma, medical bills, pain, suffering, and any wages lost if you had to take time off work while recovering.
Depending on the circumstances, you could qualify to bring a lawsuit against multiple parties related to the act of sexual abuse. For example, if a nursing home allowed someone to commit sexual abuse against a resident, the facility could be the subject of a personal injury lawsuit, along with the person who committed the abuse.
You have the right to bring a personal injury lawsuit regardless of whether the police choose to file criminal charges against the abuser. Our team has the time, resources, and compassion to support you in this process.
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We Want to Advocate for You in Your Sexual Abuse Case
If you or a loved one experienced sexual abuse, you are not alone, and help is available. Our team can build a case and file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf to seek damages from the abuser. Contact Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers today at (337) 777-7777 for a free and confidential consultation.