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Sexual assault is a serious crime than can have significant effects on a victim’s physical, mental, and psychological well-being. Understanding your rights as a sexual assault survivor and knowing what to do in the aftermath of assault can be a confusing and scary process.

It’s common for victims of sexual assault to have difficulty processing what’s happened, feel reluctant to identify the incident as assault, and be fearful of reporting the incident to authorities and reaching out for support.

An additional barrier sexual assault victims can face is the differences in how sexual assault is defined and handled on a state-by-state basis. Sexual assault laws in Michigan, for instance, differ from those in some other states. If you live in Michigan, it might be helpful to know how your state defines and charges various forms of sexual assault cases under state law.

If you wish to take legal action after being sexually assaulted, one important consideration to be aware of is Michigan’s statute of limitations. The statute of limitations for sexual assault refers to the amount of time sexual assault victims have to file a claim or lawsuit against their offender(s) or other liable party.

Michigan’s Statute of Limitations For Sexual Assault

In June 2018, the Public Acts 180 and 181 were passed as legislation in Michigan, extending the amount of time individuals who were under the age 18 at the time of their assault have to file civil and criminal charges. The time limit was extended from 10 to 15 years, or before the person’s 28th birthday, depending on which is later.

The statute of limitations for adult victims is 10 years for criminal sexual conduct of the second, third, and fourth degree. There is no deadline for individuals who file an indictment for criminal sexual conduct of the first degree, which includes child sexual abuse. The non-profit anti-sexual assault orgnization, RAINN, outlines the different definitions of criminal sexual conduct of the first, second, third, and fourth degree in Michigan in greater detail.

These deadlines apply to both civil and criminal charges against sexual offenders. Filing a civil charge allows victims to recover damages for physical, mental, and psychological losses but not necessarily result in a criminal sentencing for the offender. Criminal charges, on the other hand, are handled by the state, and—with a guilty verdict—can charge sexual offenders with probation, community service, or prison time.

Sexual assault victims also have the option of filing a tort claim. Sexual abuse claims in Michigan—which can be filed on the basis of emotional distress, assault and battery, or false imprisonment—are different from criminal and civil lawsuits and are subject to different time limits for filing.

The statute of limitations for sexual abuse claims in Michigan are as follows:

  • within two years of the incident, for assault and battery claims
  • within five years of the incident, if the offender lived with the victim
  • by the victim’s 19th birthday, if the assault occurred while the victim was underage

Sexual assault and sexual battery is classified as criminal sexual conduct. How a victim wishes to pursue legal recourse against their offender, however, is a personal decision. Speaking to a lawyer with experience handling sexual assault claims and lawsuits may provide useful insight into the types of legal options available to an assault survivor based on their age, how long ago the incident occcured, and other case details.

Sexual Assault In Michigan

From 2017 to 2018, reported rape cases in Michigan increased 8.7 percent to 7,690 crimes, according to FBI crime data. The FBI attributes this rise primarily to an increase in victims coming forward and reporting their assaults.

This increased influx of survivors coming forward is believed to be influenced by the Me Too movement, which has allowed individuals across the country to witness the opportunity for justice among people who have experienced sexual violence and harrassment. Nationwide, the U.S. Department of Justice documented a notable increase in reporting rates from 2015 to 2017 among both male and female assault victims.

Coming forward and reporting an incident of sexual assault is not an easy task, and not every person who has experienced sexual assault has the support system or understanding of local resources to know how to report sexual assault in their community. Even post-Me Too, many people can feel intimidated, scared, and concerned about how reporting their assault could impact their lives. One of the most important allies you can have on your side in the aftermath of an assault is an experienced sexual assault lawyer.

If you’ve experienced sexual assault and wish to learn more about your legal options, the attorneys of Florin|Roebig are long-term legal advocates for sexual assault victims who are ready to hear your story. To learn more about our sexual assault legal services, contact our offices today at (800) 226-6581 or visit our website to chat with us online.

Sources:

RAINN — The Laws In Your State: Michigan

WZZM 13 — Michigan law signed, extending statute of limitations in sexual assault cases

U.S. Department of Justice: Bureau of Justice Statistics — Criminal Victimization, 2017

WWMT — FBI crime data shows increases in rape and aggravated assault in Michigan

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