Sexual assault is an assault of a sexual nature on another person. Although these types of assaults are committed most frequently by a man on a woman, it may also be by a man on a man, woman on a man or woman on a woman. However, it is much more common for women. In fact, approximately one in six American women will be a victim of a sexual assault in her lifetime. Approximately ten percent of all rapes are suffered by males due to child rape and prison rape.
While these types of physical assaults are most often associated with the crime of rape, this crime may cover related physical harm which would not necessarily be considered rape.
What constitutes a sex assault is determined by the laws of the jurisdiction where the physical act actually takes place, which vary considerably, and can be influenced by local social and cultural attitudes. Such crimes may include rape, forced vaginal, anal or oral penetration, forced intercourse, inappropriate touching, forced kissing, child molestation, and the torture of the victim in a sexual manner.
The punishment associated with such crimes varies depending on the acts involved, the severity of the acts, the age of the victim and the jurisdiction in which they occur. However, they are generally punished harshly by the courts and prison sentences are doled out accordingly. Abusers can count on serving a healthy jail sentence and spending the rest of their lives labeled as a predator.
Investigating Abuse and Related Crimes
Crimes that are reported to the police will be thoroughly documented. Witnesses will be interview, statements will be taken, evidence will be gathered, and tests will be run, if necessary. Law enforcement will lead the charge in investigating the case and attempting to bring the accusers to justice.
Private investigators may be retained by parents or employers to investigate claims of sexual abuse or harassment. Private detectives may be able to uncover information and evidence not found by law enforcement officers and thus help solve the case. Due to the sensitive nature of this type of investigation, it is wise to have some type of training or knowledge of the subject. Conducting an investigation of this nature may be slow and frustrating, as it is often difficult to get the victim to discuss the crime or reveal details. Always remain sensitive to the severity of the acts and the physical and emotional damage they may cause. A private detective must demonstrate both understanding and empathy to help break through the walls of protection put up by most victims.
For more legal definitions, visit our Glossary of Legal and Investigation Terms.