In this week’s FAQ Friday, Rebecca Wade, partner at Wade Grimes Friedman Meinken & Leischner, discusses sexual assault and the legal recourse victims can pursue.

Wade explains that sexual assault is probably the most underreported crime in the county. Often, because victims either don’t think they will be believed, are embarrassed, think they will be made into a laughing stock, or believe they will be blamed for the incident. But Wade says it doesn’t have to be that way.

Victims of sexual assault should consult an attorney who can help them:

-Work through what happened

-Present their case in front of a judge to help them seek a protective order

-Prepare them for testimony so they can be as comfortable as possible on the witness stand during a cross-examination

Many sexual offenses also involve intimate partner violence, where the victim may be married to the perpetrator or even have children with them. In these instances, it’s imperative to consult an attorney who can secure a protective order. A protective order can:

-Force the perpetrator to leave the house, rather than the victim

-Help the victim seek assistance through the family court to protect themselves and children

-Allow the victim temporary child or spousal support if eligible