Do I Have Any Right to Privacy?

Survivors are often concerned about the extent to which their privacy will be invaded in a civil lawsuit, where many documents filed with the Court identify the parties by name and are a matter of public record. However, in sexual assault cases, the Courts will usually allow the survivor to be identified by initials only. Civil trials are usually open to the public but are rarely attended by anyone other than the parties involved and witnesses to the case.

In a civil case, the survivor is asking the Court to award compensation for the damages suffered as a result of the abuse, so a full inquiry into the effects of the abuse is warranted. Survivors who sue in civil court will usually be required to produce medical and other records relevant to the case. Before deciding to start a civil case, survivors should discuss these disclosure requirements with their lawyers so that there are no surprises.

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