Will We Win the Case?

Sexual assault can be difficult to prove. There are no guarantees of winning a civil lawsuit. There are usually no witnesses. The alleged offender may claim that the survivor actually consented to the sexual assault, deny that the abuse occurred, blame the survivor, or rationalize their own conduct. These factors often compound the anxiety of going to court and telling the world what happened.

Before having a survivor of sexual assault go through this process, a lawyer will first decide if there is a realistic chance of winning the case. The lawyer must be able to prove on a balance of probability (i.e., more likely yes than no) that the assault occurred and that damage was suffered. There is no true consent if it is obtained by threats, intimidation, or through breach of trust.

Evidence is an important part of winning a case. Although there may be no eyewitness proof of a sexual assault, there can be other corroborating evidence. Perhaps the survivor told a friend, family member or health care professional of the assaults. In some instances, there may be evidence in the form of letters or diaries that the survivor kept during the abuse. The alleged offender may have a history of abuse, relevant medical or psychological history, or a tendency to violence. If the offender has been criminally convicted, this will help the survivor's case.

In reality the vast majority of civil cases do not end up in a trial. Rather they are settled out of court. The amount of the settlement depends on the strength of the case and the damages which the survivor has suffered.

Date

Type

Title

Related People

October 2018

Article

The Problem with Class Actions for Historical Sexual Abuse Cases

Loretta P. Merritt

March 2018

Presentation

Pursuing Compensation for Victims of Crime: Civil Lawsuits

Loretta P. Merritt

March 2018

Article

When Should the Survivor of a Sexual Assault Seek the Advice of a Civil Lawyer?

Loretta P. Merritt

February 2018

Presentation

Current and Emerging Issues in Civil Sexual Assault:Credibility and Memory Issues in Sexual Assault Cases

February 2018

Presentation

Understanding your client and assessing causation in sexual abuse case

Loretta P. Merritt

December 2017

Article

Improving the Legal Experience of Sexual Assault Survivors

Loretta P. Merritt

October 2017

Article

The Problem with Class Actions for Historical Sexual Abuse Cases

Loretta P. Merritt

September 2017

Article

Appeal of $24K Damages Award Against Assault Complainant

Torkin Manes LegalPoint

Loretta P. Merritt

August 2017

Article

Ontario Disability Support Program Changes Help Abuse Survivors

Torkin Manes LegalPoint

Loretta P. Merritt

May 2017

Article

Relationship Lies

Torkin Manes LegalPoint

Loretta P. Merritt

April 2017

Presentation

2017 OTLA Webinar - Sexual Assault Cases: Overcoming Significant Client Credibility Issues

2017 OTLA Webinar - Sexual Assault Cases: Overcoming Significant Client Credibility Issues

Loretta P. Merritt

March 2017

Article

The End of Limitation Periods for Sexual Abuse Cases in Ontario - CCAA

Abuse Hurts - Spring 2017

Loretta P. Merritt

September 2016

Presentation

Pursuing Compensation for Sexual Abuse Survivors Civil Actions - ILA Presentation

The Barbara Schlifer Clinic
ILA Presentation  

Loretta P. Merritt

July 2016

Article

No time limits on sexual crime compensation

This article originally appeared in the June 24 2016 issue of The Lawyers Weekly.

Loretta P. Merritt

May 2016

Article

'Revenge porn' brings 100k in damages

This article originally appeared in the April 29, 2016 issue of The Lawyers Weekly.

Loretta P. Merritt

April 2016

Article

Law makes civil sex assalut litigation easier

Law Times - March 14, 2016

Loretta P. Merritt

April 2016

Newsletter

The End of Limitation Periods for Sexual Abuse Cases in Ontario

Torkin Manes LegalPoint

Loretta P. Merritt

October 2015

Presentation

Pursuing Compensation for Sexual Abuse Survivors: Civil Actions

Canadian Addictions Treatment Centres
A Lunch and Learn

Loretta P. Merritt

September 2015

Article

Negligence of Institutions: The Standard of Care

The Litigator - OTLA

Loretta P. Merritt

May 2015

Article

Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act

 

Loretta P. Merritt

May 2015

Article

Can a Children's Aid Society be Liable for Abuse by Foster Parents?

Loretta P. Merritt

March 2015

Article

When Should the Victim of a Sexual Assault Seek the Advice of a Lawyer?

AbuseHurts.com E-Zine

Loretta P. Merritt

February 2015

Presentation

Negligence and the Standard of Care in Civil Sexual Assault Cases

Osgoode PD Webinar Series
Key Issues in Civil Sexual Assault

Loretta P. Merritt

January 2015

Article

Why Are Damages In Civil Sexual Assault Cases So Low?

AbuseHurts.com E-Zine

Loretta P. Merritt

January 2015

Article

Vicarious Liability Update 2015

Loretta P. Merritt

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