How a Lawyer Can Help Rape Victims in a Civil Action Against the Attacker

Crimes committed by a perpetrator against their victim can significantly negatively impact both the victim and the defendant. One crime with devastating effects on the victim is rape. The law severely punishes those who commit this felony, with long years in prison and high fines often imposed. Rape can have a lasting impact on victims, as many find themselves unable to live their lives normally after experiencing an assault such as rape. The criminal and civil justice systems can benefit the victim in these situations. The perpetrator can be punished for their actions in a criminal lawsuit, and victims may be able to receive compensation from their attacker in a civil one. 

A civil lawsuit against a rape defendant can compensate the victim for medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, relocation, the costs associated with psychotherapy, legal expenses, and much more. 

5 Ways a Lawyer Can Help Rape Victims Make a Civil Case Against Their Attackers

Tell the Victim’s Story in Court

The first thing a lawyer can do is listen to the victim’s account of what happened and assist them in presenting it in civil court. They can further assist victims by being completely honest about the strength of their case, potential settlements to negotiate, and other related matters. The witness statements, experts testimonies, and other investigations provide information for case building, as they will include details of what occurred, who was involved, and how it was dealt with. All reports and documents related to the case help the civil lawyer prepare for a settlement negotiation or a civil trial. It will give them information on how they could best win their case in court. Attorneys can help their plaintiffs by giving them a voice and making sure a judge and a jury hear their story. 

Help Resolve Issues with Paperwork and Chain of Evidence

The police may not always be able to provide as much assistance as the lawyer would like in cases of rape, especially when there are any jurisdiction issues. Even in clear-cut rape situations, the police do not continually formulate their cases effectively, resulting in many problems. Both criminal and civil lawyers can help resolve these issues as they are experienced in dealing with the police and the court system. They will be able to ensure that breaches of the protocol are avoided, and that evidence is presented in the best way possible. 

It is not uncommon for victims to struggle with legal terms, especially when proving facts or understanding the legal process. It can result in a lack of comprehension of some documents and their terms, which may also cause problems for witnesses. The victim’s lawyer will have to explain any legal jargon and how it works in this situation. When preparing a case for the victim – even if the prosecution and the defendant’s rape defense lawyer have almost everything covered on their side – the civil lawyer can help the victim understand what they need to deal with. In rape cases where everything boils down to the victim’s word against the attacker’s word, the prosecution and the victim’s attorney usually work together to ensure the defendant is brought to justice. Legal terms, a full understanding of the process, and proper documentation can do much good for the victim’s civil suit. 

Deal with the Official Reports

For some victims, the medical examination report is integral to their case. Unfortunately, it may not always be available when the case starts since it generally needs to be released by a doctor. In addition, with DNA testing and other lab/forensic analyses, complex medical reports can take even weeks or months. The prosecution will have to make sure that this happens in the right way, as they may need to visit the police station a few times, press the doctors, and request the paperwork in person.

Then, the victims’ lawyer needs to access these records to use them in the civil lawsuit. Based on the police reports, medical records, witnesses’ statements, experts’ testimonies, and other documents, facts, and evidence, the civil lawyer can assign a monetary value to all the compensatory damages the victim should receive from the defendant. Therefore, victims could receive economic and non-economic damages (including pain and suffering, mental anguish, etc.) in a civil lawsuit against their attacker.

Help Victims Initiate a Civil Lawsuit

Some victims may not feel comfortable initiating a civil lawsuit against their attacker – the criminal lawsuit already takes a huge toll on rape victims. It is often so for women, who commonly have to prove themselves in criminal and civil court. The lawyer can assist by explaining what happens during civil lawsuits and help them build a civil case in parallel with the criminal one. It might be strategic or necessary to go after a defendant in both criminal and civil trials, even if it is hard for the victims.


The above points should cover most of the information that a victim will want to know and should help them prepare for the case they are bringing against their attacker. The lawyer’s role can be essential in a court case and help victims obtain compensation. A civil law attorney will be able to assist the victim in understanding their case and preparing for the civil trial. 

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With a law degree under his belt, Mark Scott understood very early that law communication was a relatively neglected area. He decided to help people by “translating” the language and offering information and advice in a clear, useful, and actionable manner. For this reason, instead of finding him in court, you will most likely find his name online, where he is very active and thriving as a legal columnist. His part of making the world a better place is to make the law a less convoluted maze. He aims to make it easier for people to understand when and how to seek legal counsel, how to proceed in a significant number of legal matters, and to find the proper resources so they can stand up for their rights.


TBN Editor

Time Business News Editor Team