Privacy Concerns in Sexual Abuse Cases 

Survivors of sexual abuse often feel repeated victimization when their privacy is at stake in a California sexual abuse case. The fear and stigma associated with sexual abuse serve to relinquish sexual predators of responsibility for their crimes because of the tremendous impact of public knowledge about a case of sexual abuse on survivors. Many survivors forego legal action to opt for privacy instead of legal justice.

A look at California laws on sexual abuse and privacy concerns will empower you in your right to fight back. No one fights alone in the battle against privacy concerns and sexual abuse in California. Achieving justice for unjust acts is a priority.

Will my Name be Used When Filing a Sexual Abuse Case?

The ability to protect your identity or the identity of someone you love is often the determining factor in whether individuals will pursue civil action for damages caused by sexual abuse. The courts recognize the significance of this protection by allowing legal avenues to seek privacy.

California law (Cal. Code Civil Procedure §367) states that every legal action should be carried out in the name of the party in interest. While minors may be given anonymity, adults filing sexual abuse lawsuits for recent or past abuse may request a complaint be filed under the Jane Doe or John Doe pseudonym or by using their initials only to protect their privacy. A court will consider whether a survivor’s request for privacy is more substantial than the court’s right to know.

Many state and federal laws strive to protect the identity of a sexual abuse survivor. It is vital to discuss with a California sexual abuse attorney whether you will have to face an abuser in court and your right to face them if you choose to do so. Learn more by reviewing these frequently asked questions about California sexual abuse.

Will My Sex Life Become Public Knowledge in a Sexual Abuse Case?

Adult survivors of sexual abuse or assault may also have concerns about privacy surrounding their personal life. California law (§2017.220) does not allow a plaintiff to be questioned about their sexual conduct outside of incidents relating to a defendant unless it can be established that any facts are relevant to the case. Requesting such information without good cause may lead to sanctions.

Additionally, codes of evidence (§1106) do not permit the conduct of a survivor to be used to prove that their actions before the abuse occurred were likely to reduce the amount of distress the abuse resulted in. Minimizing privacy concerns is a critical goal.

Are There Other Actions to Address Privacy Concerns in a California Sexual Abuse Case?

A survivor may request the courts limit who can attend a trial if a case goes to court instead of settling. To further protect your information in a California sexual abuse civil case, a sexual abuse survivor may also request that the court file records under seal to limit the information the public may access. This request allows only judges and attorneys to obtain the information.

Other rights that address privacy concerns may be available based on your case and when the abuse occurred. It is critical you know all the options available to you if you choose to pursue civil action in a California sexual abuse lawsuit. Find out more by requesting a free consultation.