How Laws in Georgia Protect Victims of Sexual Assault
Sexual assault can happen anywhere, anytime. Sexual assault often occurs between non-strangers, but it can also occur between strangers looking to date. A recent example of a sexual assault between two strangers occurred in October 2018 at a Marietta Intown Suites hotel. The assailant and the victim were strangers but had been communicating through a mobile app that allowed members to see other members who were nearby. The victim told the Cobb County Police Department that the two met within five minutes of communicating through the app. According to one of the investigating officers, shortly after meeting face to face, the victim quickly realized he did not want to be in that situation and tried to leave. The assailant refused to let the victim leave, and sexually assaulted the victim.
Sexual assault covers many different offenses. It also can occur between both genders meaning it’s not always a man who assaults a woman. In the recent Cobb County attack at Marietta Intown Suites hotel, for example, both the assailant and the victim were men. Many of the laws in Georgia that govern sexual assault are unique to the state. For example, O.C.G.A. § 16-6-5.1 prohibits a person in a position of authority over another to have contact with them in a sexual context. This encompasses:
- Student and teacher, principal or other administrator
- Inmate and correctional officer
- A person released from incarceration and his or her parole officer
- A law enforcement officer and the individual detained
- A patient and hospital staff
- Staff of juvenile detention facilities or child and welfare youth service offices and those they look after
An experienced personal injury lawyer in Atlanta will be able to provide more information about what laws apply and what to do to hold the assailant responsible.
One of the laws that helps ensure the timely investigation of sexual assault cases is O.C.G.A. § 35-1-2. This statute, known as the “Compassionate care for victims of sexual assault” statute, requires law enforcement officers follow certain rules after a victim chooses to undergo a forensic medical examination. One of the rules under this statute is that if a victim requests law enforcement be notified that she had a forensic medical examination performed, the individual who performed the examination shall notify the appropriate law enforcement agency of the collection of such evidence and provide a summary of all rights guaranteed to the alleged victim pursuant to the Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights , and the law enforcement officials shall take possession of the evidence no later than 96 hours of being notified.
A key component to a successful investigation of a sexual assault case includes gathering evidence. Assembling the evidence collected can be challenging for several reasons.
DNA and other physical evidence may not be available from the offense. Reluctant witnesses may not be forthcoming about what they saw or they may be ambiguous as they recount events. Sometimes even the victims themselves may be scared or weary about coming forward. A victim should never feel scared or intimidated about sharing what happened to them, but sadly that does happen. It’s important to remember that gathering evidence early on often can make a real difference. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer in Atlanta will be able to thoroughly evaluate the case, try to evaluate the strength of the case, and work to gather the evidence.
Consult with a Georgia Attorney
If you’ve been victimized you’re bound to have questions and fears. Our attorneys will speak with you confidentially and advise you of your rights.