Whether your child goes to Hofstra, Binghamton, or NYU, it's hard enough sending them off to college without reading headlines, news stories and statistics about campus sexual assaults and other crimes. Says New York personal injury lawyer Neal Goldstein, "The most common sexual assault calls we get take place on college campuses here in New York. It's important for college kids to take every step to keep as safe as possible."
Here are our top 5 ways to stay safe on college campuses:
- Never walk alone, especially at night. There is safety in numbers, and walking with a friend greatly reduces the chances of getting hurt. Staying in crowded and well-lit areas will also help keep you safer from an attack. If you need to go somewhere far and don't have a buddy to join you, most campuses have an escort service that will accompany you. This service is there for a reason-to help keep you safe. Don't be afraid to use it.
- Stay alert. Walking while texting, listening to an iPod, or using an iTouch--especially at night--leaves you more vulnerable. At night, when you vision is limited, it is important to make use of your other senses and not tune out to the sounds and sights around you.
- Limit alcohol. Drink in moderation and always be in control of your actions. Alcohol prevents you from making smart choices and being alert to dangers around you.
- Make sure the door to your residence hall as well as your room is locked. Do not let anyone into your hall that you don't know.
- Make sure someone knows where you are at all times, whether you are walking to a party, the library, or going off-campus to a bar.
If you, your child or anyone you know is sexually assaulted, it is important to immediately get help and take steps to preserve evidence.
What to do after a sexual assault
- Get to a Safe Place, such as a friend's room, the school infirmary, a campus office.
- Call for Assistance. Many campuses have special phones for dialing for help. Contact public safety or the police immediately.
- Preserve all evidence by avoiding showering, brushing your teeth, drinking, eating, combing your hair, or changing your cloths. If you have done any of these things, evidence can still be collected so it is important to seek medical attention. If you have changed your clothes, take the clothes you were wearing at the time of the assault to the hospital in a paper bag (not a plastic bag).
- Get medical attention immediately. Assault victims should look to get treatment for any injuries that they may have sustained. Ask medical personnel to use a rape kit, which will provide biological and as well as physical evidence of the sexual assault. Victims may also want to get tested for STDs and obtain emergency contraceptives. Make sure to keep records for any medical treatments that you receive.
- Notify the police from the hospital to file a report.
Being the victim of a sexual assault is an extremely traumatic experience. Close family and friends can provide emotional support and help victims get through the challenging times that often follow an assault.
If you or a family member is a victim of a sexual assault, it is also a good idea to seek legal advice. Assault victims may be able to file criminal charges and bring about civil lawsuits against the assailant as well as other parties who may be responsible for the attack.
The Benefits of Obtaining Legal Support
Following a sexual assault, legal experts can help serve as a close confidant and can assist in providing victims with peace of mind. In addition, lawyers can help victims to obtain compensation for any physical or emotional damages that they may have sustained. A lawyer can help to collect compensation against an assailant as well as against other parties that might be responsible. For example, did the college provide a safe environment? Were the residence door locks working properly? Were walkways properly lit? These are important questions that your attorney should ask so you can collect the compensation you are deserved.
How Our Sexual Asault Lawyers Can Help
At Goldstein & Bashner, we have extensive experience in dealing with sexual assault cases in the New York and Long Island areas. We have helped to serve victims as both a close companion and as competent legal advisers. We have helped numerous assault victims overcome the terrible wrong doings that they have had to encounter. In doing so, we have assisted victims in recovering monetary compensation for the physical and emotional injuries that they may have sustained. If you or somebody you care for has been the victim of a sexual assault, please contact us for a free consultation.