October 26th, 2012

How to Corroborate Sex Abuse in a Civil Lawsuit

How to Corroborate Sex Abuse in a Civil Lawsuit

Victims considering filing a lawsuit against a sexual abuser, especially in cases of child molestation, should be prepared to do so. Sexual abuse cases often boil down to credibility, especially if the defendant fails to admit the abuse. Corroborating evidence can help to bolster credibility.

One of the issues in a sex abuse case involving child molestation, especially over the course of months or even years, is finding any evidence to corroborate the abuse. Usually, there will be no direct evidence, such as eyewitnesses, and hence, circumstantial evidence will be helpful.

Here are common types of circumstantial evidence which may corroborate sexual abuse:

1. Medical records

Medical records can show direct and indirect signs of abuse. Direct signs are physical marks or trauma. Indirect signs include different things, such as reports of depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts or unusual behavior. For example, a young child who has been a victim of sexual abuse may suddenly report feelings of anger, depression, suicidal thoughts, regression, bed wetting, etc. Any records which show these kinds of issues will be helpful, especially when the dates of medical reports match up to the instances of abuse. For example, if sexual abuse occurred in 2010 and the victim, in that same year, starts reporting nightmares, anxiety and depression to his or her doctor, these records would corroborate that the abuse occurred.

2. Testimony from friends/family/etc.

Family and friends can often testify that prior to the abuse, the victim was active, friendly, happy, etc., but after the abuse began, the victim was angry, depressed, anxious, etc. Such changes are normal for victims of sexual abuse. Others who can provide such evidence include teachers, instructors or anyone who is close to the victim.

3. Other documents such as diary entries

Every case is unique because every victim is unique. Some victims may keep diaries discussing or referring to the abuse. Young victims may draw pictures depicting abuse. Any document or thing which can corroborate the abuse will be important in a sex abuse case.

For more information, contact Guy D’Andrea, a Pennsylvania sex abuse lawyer and former sex crimes unit prosecutor.

More Pennsylvania Sex Abuse Legal Articles:

Sex Abuse Lawyer in Pennsylvania & New Jersey

Laffey Bucci D’Andrea Reich & Ryan handles sex abuse cases in the Northeast area with offices in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. Attorneys at the firm are licensed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Firm founder, Guy D’Andrea, is a former sex crimes unit prosecutor with the knowledge and compassion to help victims of sex abuse face their abusers and seek justice.

The firm has the resources and experience to handle school sex abuse cases in all states and welcomes calls from local counsel about potential cases. Click To Call