Reporting a sexual assault is not easy, and many victims find that the process can often inflict additional trauma on top of what they’ve already suffered. Feelings of guilt and shame, apprehension around authorities, and a fear of not being believed can create seemingly impassable barriers to filing a report.
It perhaps comes as no surprise that, according to RAINN, fewer than one-third of sexual assaults are ever reported to the police. Out of every 1,000 acts of sexual assault, only 50 ever result in an arrest. Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC wants to be part of the solution to improve these statistics.
If you were the survivor of a sexual assault, rape, or abuse, we want you to have access to resources for reporting. Below we’ll go into detail about how to report sexual assault in Maryland.
What To Do After a Sexual Assault
The period of time following a violent sexual attack is often filled with confusion and fear. Know that you are not alone. Every county in the state of Maryland has a Rape Crisis and Recovery Center. Visit the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MCASA) website to locate the center closest to you. You can speak with a licensed counselor through their 24-hour Crisis Hotline, access immediate crisis intervention services, and secure accompaniment to the hospital. Accompaniment to police interviews and court is also provided through these centers.
If you choose not to contact a Maryland Rape Crisis and Recovery Center, you may also:
- Call 911 if you are in immediate danger
- Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673
- Go to a hospital that offers Sexual Assault Forensic Exams (SAFEs)
Do not avoid seeking medical attention. Medical care in the immediate aftermath of a sexual assault is important, even if you do not appear to have any visible injuries. Preferably visit a hospital that participates in Maryland’s SAFE program. Services for sexual assault provided at hospitals in the SAFE program are free of cost.
However, if distance or travel costs are an impedance, any hospital or emergency room can treat your injuries, prescribe medication to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or HIV, or provide emergency contraception.
Reporting Sexual Assault in Maryland
The easiest and most straightforward way to report an act of sexual assault is to make an in-person report at a police station. This can be an overwhelming experience, so we recommend bringing a support person with you. That support person may be a friend, family member, or a volunteer from your local Rape Crisis and Recovery Center.
Depending on where or when the assault, rape, or abuse took place, there may be additional steps, options, or requirements for reporting.
How To Report Sexual Assault on University and College Campuses
If you were the victim of a sexual assault on a university or college campus, you will need to report the incident through the school. This may include allowing campus police rather than local law enforcement to handle the initial investigation. Remember, you are not legally obligated to only report to the school. Should you choose to do so, you may also make a report to the police.
All universities and colleges in the state of Maryland are subject to Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, which requires these facilities to take the following actions when made aware of sexual assault:
- Protect students during the course of the investigation
- Take immediate steps to effectively end the sexual violence and prevent its recurrence
- Eliminate the environment that allowed the sexual violence to occur
- Remedy the impact of the sexual violence
If at any point a school does not appear to be honoring its obligations to survivors of sexual assault, it is imperative to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. The sexual assault attorneys of Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC are prepared to hold negligent schools accountable for the violence they’ve allowed to take place on their campuses.
How To Report Sexual Assault in the Workplace
Victims of workplace sexual harassment or assault may report what happened to both the police as well as their place of employment. Reporting an act of workplace sexual violence to your employer can help strengthen the validity of your complaint with the police.
Most workplaces will have their own policies regarding the reporting of sexual misconduct, so be sure to refer to your employee handbook if you have one. If you’re not sure what to do or how to access this information, you can report what happened to your direct supervisor, the attacker’s supervisor, or the human resources (HR) department.
However, we understand there are many valid reasons why a victim of workplace sexual harassment may be concerned about filing a report with their employer. If you are worried about retaliation, wrongful termination, or even additional violence, speak with a lawyer before filing a report with your employer.
How To Report Childhood Sexual Abuse
In Maryland, adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse have up until the age of 38 or three years after the perpetrator’s conviction to take civil action, whichever date is later. Taking the first steps toward righting a terrible wrong can be difficult, even as an adult with years or even decades between yourself and the abuse.
This is not a legal step you have to take on your own. At Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC, our compassionate attorneys will provide unrivaled guidance and support through the process of filing a civil sexual abuse claim.
Maryland Mandated Reporters
In Maryland, the following mandated reporters must make a report if they suspect a child, elder, or vulnerable adult is being sexually abused or harmed:
- Health care practitioners
- Police officers
- Human service workers
Educators are also mandated reporters for children. Additionally, state law requires almost any person with knowledge of the sexual abuse, assault, or rape of a child, elder, or vulnerable adult to make a report.
Exceptions to this include priests, pastors, or clergy who were told of a sexual assault in confidence under the doctrine or religious practice of the church to which they belong.
Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC Are Compassionate and Fierce Advocates
If you’re not sure how to report sexual assault in Maryland or are worried about coming forward, we are here for you. Our law office has proven itself as a compassionate and fierce advocate for survivors of sexual assault and abuse, and from the beginning, we stress what we know every client needs to hear—we believe you.
For help filing a report or taking civil action for a sexual assault, please contact our law office. We offer free consultations and can be reached by our phone or by filling out our convenient online form.