In the last 10 years or so, there has been an explosion in the media relating to what is known as historical sexual offenses. Many victims of historical sexual offenses have suffered in silence for years due to feelings of shame, guilt, and fear of not being believed or of being judged. Victims are also at a higher risk of suffering from mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety, all of which can have an immense impact on their mental health, their relationships, and their overall quality of life.
Of course, if you are accused of committing a historical sexual offense, it can be hard to defend it, as the evidence trail will have long gone cold. So, in this article, you will be walked through what is meant by a historical sexual offense, what to do if you are accused of it, and what to expect should the case go to trial.
What Are Historical Sexual Offenses?
Historical sexual offenses refer to any sexual offenses committed in the past, often decades ago, which are only now being reported or investigated. These offenses can range from sexual assault to child sexual abuse and can involve both adults and children.
However, just because these offenses are historical, this does not mean they are not serious. So, if you are on the end of being accused of a historic offense of this nature, please seek the advice of sexual offence solicitors as soon as you can.
Proving the Offense
As mentioned before, it is tricky for the prosecution to prove that the offense happened, but it can also be tough to prove that it didn't happen. One of the challenges of prosecuting historical sexual offenses is that the evidence may have been lost or destroyed over time. This can make it difficult to prove the guilt of the offender beyond a reasonable doubt.
However, advances in forensic technology have made it possible to re-examine old evidence and potentially identify new information that was not available at the time of the original investigation. So, even if you are convinced that you will not be found guilty of a historical sexual offense, it is still wise to seek legal advice from a legal team who are trained in this area.
Does it Have To Go To Court?
In most cases, the person who has been affected by the sexual offense may want to get the justice and reparations that they are legally entitled to. This can be a long process and may result in a fine or prison time, or both.
However, when the evidence is thin on the ground, or the victim simply can't handle it, historical sexual offenses may be dealt with through restorative justice rather than criminal prosecution. Restorative justice involves bringing the offender and victim together to discuss the harm that has been done and to work towards a resolution that addresses the harm and promotes healing. This approach can be especially beneficial for victims who do not wish to go through a lengthy court process but still want some form of closure.
This will need to be arranged and agreed to by both the defense and the prosecution, and it may take place over several meetings with the aid of a counselor or mental health professional.