Is Rape or Sexual Assault on a Cruise Ship a Crime?

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A disturbing number of cruise ships have had reports of staff and crew failing to prevent rape and sexual assault on board.  Victims of these kinds of assaults may be on the ship for vacation or while working as a crew member or entertainer.  Fortunately for these victims, there are laws against this kind of behavior, and it is indeed the kind of conduct that can qualify as a crime.  These laws protecting victims often help survivors of rape and sexual assault on a cruise ship hold their assailant and the cruise line responsible for the harm they faced aboard the cruise.  The cruise ship rape and sexual assault injury lawyers at Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. explain more about these offenses and how to sue for assault on a cruise ship.

Rape and Sexual Assault Laws on Cruise Ships

General criminal laws in the United States are typically written at the state level.  Each state gets its own general police powers, and the federal government gets jurisdiction over everything related to interstate trade or travel.  When a ship is at port or within the waters owned by a state, that state’s laws usually apply to the ship and its passengers.  If the ship moves into interstate or international waters, it falls under maritime law – a special type of federal law governing most ships flying an American flag.

Every state in the country has laws against rape and sexual assault, as does the federal government.  Whether the crime is governed by state law or federal maritime law, there is typically at least one law against rape or sexual assault that should work to help protect crime victims on cruise ships.

The specific definition of rape or sexual assault varies from statute to statute.  Under some laws, “sexual assault” refers to something short of rape, such as unwanted touching, while other laws use this term in place of the term “rape.”  Although different laws have different specifics as to what they cover, most of these laws make it illegal to touch someone or to have sex with them without their consent.  If force, drugs, or excessive amounts of alcohol were used to commit the crime, the assailant may face harsher penalties and is more likely to face punishment.

Suing a Cruise Ship for Rape or Sexual Assault

Since rape is indeed a crime no matter what jurisdiction oversees the ship at the time, this is squarely something that a cruise line and the crew aboard the cruise ship should work to prevent.  While a cruise line cannot always account for the assailant’s criminal choices, they can hire staff and security that is trained to help prevent assault and sexual assault aboard the ship.  If these staff members fail to prevent these kinds of crimes or make mistakes that led to the injuries and harm of rape or sexual assault, the cruise line should be held accountable.

Many sexual assaults on cruises are actually committed by staff or workers employed by the cruise ship.  If you were sexually assaulted by a cruise employee, it likely means that the cruise line failed to control its crew or staff members.  If they intentionally harmed a passenger or caused injury to a cruise ship crew member currently under the ship’s care, the cruise line should be held responsible.  In many cases, these issues occur because the cruise line failed to properly train or discipline workers or because they hired someone that they should have known was dangerous or had a prior history of similar conduct.

Other cases deal with sexual assault by another cruise ship passenger.  It is entirely possible for a cruise ship’s staff and security personnel to help prevent crime by ensuring that no one gets overserved or drugged at a bar or nightclub on the ship, to give medical assistance to anyone who appears too drunk or high to get back to their cabin safely, and to monitor any suspicious behavior that could lead to assault or sexual assault.  If these crew members fail to take reasonable steps like these to prevent sexual assault on their ship, the cruise company may be responsible for the harm.

Damages for Rape and Sexual Assault on a Cruise

When you sue a cruise ship for the assault, you may be able to get compensation and damages to help you cope with the injuries and the mental effects of the assault.  In most cases, the criminal justice system does not do enough for victims of rape and sexual assault.  To get justice that actually helps you and focuses on your recovery instead of punishing the assailant, it is important to talk to a lawyer and seek help filing a lawsuit.

In many cases, you could be entitled to damages to cover the harm that this traumatic experience caused you.  This could include damages for the medical bills and therapy related to the incident.  These expenses would have been unnecessary if you were not assaulted, so the responsible parties should cover these bills.  Similarly, if you have to miss work because of your injuries or your mental state after the assault, the cost of lost wages should also be covered.

These experiences can be quite traumatic, and you may also be entitled to additional damages for the physical pain and mental anguish of the events.  These damages can be quite high in serious cases like this.  Your attorney can help you understand what your claim could be worth.

Call Our Cruise Ship Rape and Sexual Assault Victim Attorneys for a Free Consultation

If you were taken advantage of or sexually assaulted on a cruise ship, call an attorney today.  Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind’s maritime injury attorneys represent victims of serious injuries and assaults on cruise ships and fight to get them justice and fair compensation for the events they endured.  For a free, confidential legal consultation with our experienced injury lawyers, call our law offices today at (305) 204-5369.

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