The cruise ship is a beautiful way to relax, unwind and enjoy planned events while on vacation. After working so hard, most people prefer to enjoy a memorable holiday. Cruise shipping gives them the experience of a lifetime. There is a lot to enjoy, including organized events inside the ship, relaxing moments while enjoying the sea breeze, and catering services by professionally trained staff. However, it does not always end in joy for most victims of cruise ship sexual abuse. But, legal help is always available for the victims to ensure that they receive justice and recover incurred damages.

If you have experienced cruise ship sexual abuse, we could support you in filing a lawsuit against the responsible party in Los Angeles, CA. Our skills and experience at Sex Crime Attorney enable us to offer quality advice and professional support to victims of sexual abuse and their families as they pursue compensation for their injuries.

Overview of Cruise Ship Sexual Abuse in California

Cruise shipping is a common fun activity for most Americans. The industry is growing so fast to accommodate millions of revelers who prefer cruise shipping while on vacation. It allows them and their families the fun and relaxation they need to unwind before returning to their busy schedules. Cruise ship companies do not disappoint. They offer a wide range of events and well-trained staff to ensure that cruise shippers enjoy great fun while on board.

Safety is paramount when people are having fun. Some people suffer injuries; others lose their lives in the heat of pleasure. That is why the law obligates cruise ship companies to have adequate strategies to protect revelers onboard their cruise ships. But, some companies fail miserably in this duty. Consequently, travelers, including the young and old, incur life-changing injuries and financial losses.

While traveling on a cruise ship, you should know that your service provider is obligated to keep you safe during your stay on board. If the company fails its duty to you and other passengers, it will be responsible for any damages any of you incurs.

Cruise ship companies are responsible for thoroughly vetting employees before hiring to ensure safety for their customers. Cases of rape and sexual assault in cruise ships are on the rise. The majority of perpetrators are cruise ship employees. While the perpetrator can face criminal charges for his/her actions, the employer could be held responsible for any damages incurred by the victims if it is established that the employer failed to vet the perpetrator during the hiring process properly.

So many activities happen onboard a cruise ship. Sometimes parents have to separate from their children to enjoy diverse activities. Unaccompanied children become the target of most sex predators onboard cruise ships. Other victims are adolescents and sometimes adults. Sexual abuse in cruise ships can occur at any time and anywhere. Sex predators strike fast when an opportunity presents itself. Operators do not warn passengers about dangers like these. Otherwise, most will take precautionary measures to protect themselves and their loved ones.

Sadly, only a few cases of cruise ship sexual abuse are reported. Some victims prefer to keep it to themselves, while others are unwilling to go through the tedious legal process. Sometimes pursuing justice is met by challenges like jurisdictional issues. But that does not mean that justice and compensation are impossible. It helps to report the abuse and file a case for compensation against the responsible party. That way, you will recover your damages and help stop cruise ship sexual abuse cases.

How Travelers Can Remain Safe in a Cruise Ship

Cruise ship companies have a duty of care to travelers and their employees. Some have adequate safety measures onboard, while others have failed in this mandate. In the end, the victims of sexual abuse suffer the most. It could help if everyone took some measures to protect themselves onboard a cruise ship. Here are some of the tips you and your loved ones can use to protect yourself from sex predators onboard your cruise ship.

Find out whether your preferred cruise ship has safety measures in place before boarding. It gives you peace of mind knowing that your service provider cares enough to ensure your safety. Find out the management’s steps to promote everyone’s safety while onboard. Then, you will know what more to do to keep you and your loved ones safe throughout your vacation.

Be careful about people coming into your cabin in and without your presence. Humans are social beings. You or anyone you are traveling with is bound to make friends onboard. Be careful not to invite strangers to your cabin, however friendly they seem. You can socialize as you enjoy the various activities offered on the ship and still maintain a friendship without taking it to the privacy of your cabin.

If you are drinking, know your limits. Avoid taking more alcohol than you can handle. Sexual predators onboard the cruise ship will likely target intoxicated people. Alcohol will impair you to the point of not protecting yourself or understanding your surroundings. It becomes impossible to tell exactly what happened if you faced sexual abuse while intoxicated.

Stay alert and be conscious of your surroundings. Some sex predators strike when the victim least expects. A person that is aware of their surroundings at all times will be ready when attacked and is likely to fight back or call for help. Additionally, be conscious of who is around you all the time. Avoid situations where you are alone with a stranger or far from possible help.

Forms of Sexual Abuse Commonly Reported in Cruise Ships

The cruise ship industry has recorded many horrible rape and sexual assault stories in the last few years. It is believed that many stories of that kind go unreported. Some cruise liners go to the extent of silencing victims to avoid tarnishing the industry’s reputation.

Victims should understand the danger of remaining quiet and allowing the perpetrators to go unpunished. Anyone can be a target of a sex predator. Reporting the perpetrator and holding the liable party responsible for the perpetrator’s actions will help clean the industry and make it safe for future revelers.

Sexual abuse is quite rampant in the cruise ship industry. It refers to any sexual contact with another person without consent.

Sex offenders accomplish sexual abuse through force or threats of force. Sometimes they drug or intoxicate the victim to avoid any form of resistance. Victims of sexual abuse are either coerced into having sexual acts with the perpetrators or raped. Sexual abuse victims need to know that what happened to them is not their fault.

Sexual abuse could also refer to sexual assault or sexual violence. It is defined differently in different states. Some forms of sexual abuse commonly reported in this industry are:

  • Attempted rape

  • Rape

  • Sexual coercion

  • Sexual abuse of a minor

  • Unwanted touching or fondling of another’s private parts or a woman’s breast

  • Sexual contact with a person that cannot give consent, including minors, mentally disabled persons, highly intoxicated and unconscious persons

Some forms of sexual abuse do not include contact. For instance:

  • Forcing a person to watch pornographic material

  • Flashing

  • Sexting

  • Voyeurism or watching intimate acts without permission

  • Sending sexual threats or harassment messages to another

Rape has been reported the most in this industry. Rape occurs when a person forcefully penetrates the anus or vagina of another using a part of their body or foreign object. Even a slight penetration counts as rape and is highly punishable in California.

A sexually abused person suffers emotionally and physically and will require extensive treatment to recover.

Effects of Sexual Abuse on the Victim

Sexual abuse is a serious offense as it carries life-changing effects on the victim. As previously mentioned, the effects of sexual abuse are emotional and physical. Some are short-term injuries, and others could take time to heal. The most common of these effects are:

Victims Suffer Depression

Sadness is inevitable for anyone that has suffered sexual abuse. Survivors experience long periods of sadness and feelings of hopelessness. You find some crying, unwilling to participate in any activity, and sometimes isolated from other people. Some survivors seek solace in unhealthy habits and could gain weight.

Post-Trauma Stress

The life of most sexual abuse victims does not remain the same. Some experience severe anxiety, uncontrolled thoughts, nightmares, or flashbacks. Survivors become paranoid. The only thoughts that come to their mind are related to the traumatic experience they had at the hands of their abusers.

Suicidal Attempts

Extended periods of sadness will cause the survivor to doubt their worth. Suicidal thoughts and sometimes suicidal attempts follow that. Sexual abuse victims need more love and assurance to wade off any negative thoughts that could cross their minds.

Feelings of Dissociation

It becomes increasingly hard for the victims to concentrate on any constructive work. Their performance at work, school, and even at home drops significantly.

It is because the victim dissociates him/herself from everyday situations and activities. All they want is to sleep and forget everything that happened.

Sexual abuse will also have long-term emotional effects like:

  • Finding it hard to trust anyone

  • Losing control

  • Feelings of shame, embarrassment, and anger

  • Shock

  • Numbness

  • Helplessness

  • Disorientation

  • Intense fear

  • Feelings of guilt

  • Loneliness and isolation

  • Living in denial

These are some of the damages sustained after cruise ship sexual abuse. Sexual abuse victims require all the help and treatment they can find to recover fully and enjoy a quality life. That is why the party responsible for the perpetrator’s actions must be held liable and compensate the victim for their current and future damages.

If a cruise ship employee sexually abuses you or your loved one, you will incur economic and non-economic damages for which you need compensation. It is not your fault that the abuse happened. The perpetrator will face criminal charges and penalties, while his/her employer could be civically liable for your damages. A reliable, competent sex crime attorney will assist you in planning a solid claim against the responsible party(parties).

Why Sexual Abuse is Common in Cruise Ships

Sexual abuse is rampant in closed spaces. The closed spaces of a cruise ship make it easier for perpetrators to commit crimes and go about their duties. Passengers are more vulnerable because they mingle with strangers every day of their stay on the ship. Additionally, employees have easier access to passenger cabins. Some workers take advantage of that to commit sex crimes when discharging their duties.

Cruise ship companies do not have adequate security for onboard passengers. The security personnel in these ships are still members of staff and sometimes perpetrators of these heinous acts. You will not find law enforcement officers on board a cruise ship or an independent contractor offering paid security services. Cruise ship companies do not have a separate body of security personnel offering stricter security to revelers.

Questions also arise on the training and accountability of the security staff in cruise ships. If they work directly under the cruise ship company, it could be hard to hold anyone responsible if a passenger was abused under their care.

Cruise ships also offer various relaxation services to passengers. For instance, consumption of alcohol is allowed. While alcohol consumption is not illegal in the country, it increases recklessness, negligence, and risks of criminal behavior onboard. That explains why sexual assault and rape cases are high on cruise ships. Employees can easily take advantage of an overly intoxicated reveler without calling the attention of other passengers. Some sex predators serve more alcohol to their targets and then escort them to their cabins.

Cruise ship companies are usually not careful enough when hiring workers. Before hiring, they do not conduct background checks and thorough vetting of potential employees. If proper procedures were adhered to during the hiring process, the industry would not have so many criminals working and serving customers directly. Additionally, the industry does not have proper measures to protect its customers against abuse. If travelers make reports of abuse, the same employees are called upon to investigate. That is why most sexual abuse cases are downplayed or covered up to protect the industry image.

How To Report a Cruise Ship Sexual Abuse

In the unfortunate event that you or your loved one faces sexual abuse onboard a cruise ship, knowing what you must do to obtain justice and compensation for your injuries is necessary.

First, seek medical help to treat any injuries you suffered through the abuse. It is necessary to have a medical professional examine you and provide a detailed report on your injuries and physical status when you seek treatment. That will help with the police investigations. If the abuse happens while onshore, find the nearest hospital, clinic, or emergency room.

Do not clean up right after sexual abuse, as that will destroy crucial evidence. Do not take a shower or bath or even change your clothes until a medical practitioner examines you. The staff at the medical facility you will attend will collect DNA evidence that could be useful in prosecuting the abuser.

Do not give up seeking justice if you are outside the United States. Some victims are intimidated by the long and tedious legal processes. That is why most of these cases go unreported. If you are outside the U.S, reach out to the U.S Consulate or Embassy in the country you are in. These officers are available 24/7 for emergency services. Officers in these offices will connect you with the help you need, wherever you could be.

You could also report the abuse to the FBI or any other law enforcement agency. If the abuse occurs while onboard a cruise ship, the FBI or Coast Guard will help. An officer will contact you for advice and guidance on the course of action you can take. You could also report the abuse to the U.S Department of Transportation.

Government officials have the proper training and resources in handling abuse cases, particularly sexual abuse. Therefore, you can be sure that the responsible agency will start investigations into the matter immediately after you contact them. Knowing that people are willing and ready to help you obtain justice and compensation for your damages is vital.

You could also seek the advice and guidance of a qualified sex crime attorney. Experienced sex crime lawyers have handled similar cases in the past. Therefore, your lawyer will know the right processes to follow to help you obtain justice and the compensation you deserve. Your lawyer will involve experts and conduct profound investigations into your case to obtain valuable evidence to support your claim. Your lawyer will also be by your side at the most challenging period of your life. He/she will not let you give up on yourself. Your attorney’s support will enable you to recover from your injuries faster.

Criminal Charges and Civil Claim

Cruise ship sexual abuse is both a civil and criminal case. Thus, abuse victims can file criminal charges against their abusers and a civil claim against the party responsible for their damages.

When you report a sexual abuse incident to the police, the alleged perpetrator is arrested and detained by the police. The prosecutor will file charges against the perpetrator in criminal court. He/she will stand trial before a jury and will be allowed to defend himself against the charges. If the police have solid evidence against the perpetrator, the perpetrator will lose in the trial and face the full consequences of the crime as provided under the constitution.

Punishment for sexual abuse can include jail or prison time, monetary fines, and restitution or rebate to the victim and/or his/her family. The judge has complete discretion in deciding the punishment deserving of the nature of the offense.

As previously mentioned, sexual abuse results in physical and emotional injuries that will require extensive treatment for the victim to heal completely. Thus, the victim should file a civil claim in a civil court against the negligent party to recover his/her damages. California personal injury laws allow abuse victims to pursue compensation for their damages if another party’s negligence caused their injuries.

In this case, you could file a claim against the cruise ship company if the company failed in protecting you and other travelers against sexual abuse. The company could have failed in several ways, including failing to vet employees before hiring and providing adequate safety measures for travelers on board their ships. If successful, you will recover all your damages, including:

  • Medical-related costs

  • Counseling and therapy costs

  • Lost earnings

  • Mental anguish

  • Suffering and pain

  • Stress and depression

Your lawyer will evaluate your case to determine your damages and then help you file a deserving claim in court.

Judges award punitive damages to cases like these due to gross negligence exhibited by the responsible party. For instance, if it is established that the employer received several abuse-related complaints from travelers but chose to ignore them, he/she will be ordered to pay punitive damages on top of the compensatory damages awarded by the court. That will punish the liable party and serve as a warning to other cruise ship companies.

Find a Qualified Sex Crime Lawyer Near Me

Cruise ship sexual abuse is a horrible offense that could happen to anyone onboard, including children, young and old adults. Victims of sexual abuse suffer life-changing injuries, both physical and emotional. Knowing that you can find help filing criminal charges against the perpetrator and a civil claim against the negligent party is crucial. Sex Crime Attorney has a team of highly trained and experienced attorneys that will be willing and ready to take you through the legal process to obtain compensation for your damages in Los Angeles. We have handled many sexual abuse cases before. Therefore, we could help you plan and file a successful claim against the party responsible for your injuries. Call us at 424-835-9799, and let us study your case for more information and legal advice.