Washington State Assault Attorneys
Perceiving yourself to be in physical danger activates your body’s fight-or-flight response. Your heart races, your blood pressure increases, your muscles tense, and you begin breathing faster and harder. As traumatic as the physical aspects of an assault may be, the mental and emotional impact can be far more damaging. After an assault occurs, you may be triggered or relive the experience and your visceral reactions to it for weeks, months, or even years later.
- Every 68 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted
- In 2020, the rate of aggravated assault in the USA was 279.7 cases 100,000 of the population
- 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experience some form of physical violence from an intimate partner.
If you or a loved one are a victim of a personal assault, you should speak with a qualified assault attorney to learn about your legal rights before giving a statement to anyone.
- Assault – An attempted or threatened physical, verbal, or emotional attack of one person by another.
- Assault and Battery – If physical contact is made during the attack
- Aggravated Assault – If the attack involves a weapon, such as a gun, knife, or other object that can be used to cause injury, or if the intent is to do more than merely frighten the victim
- Sexual Assault – Any nonconsensual sexual behavior that ranges from a gesture to rape
- Domestic Assault – Violence against family members or cohabitants
What to Do When You Have Been Assaulted
While assaults vary from threats to physical abuse or sexual violence, you should take the following steps to protect yourself, your legal rights, and get the emotional support you may need:
- Ensure your safety. If you believe you or a loved one is in immediate danger, you need to get to a safe place as quickly as possible. Once you do, call the police to file a report.
- When speaking with an officer. To the best of your ability, tell the officer exactly what happened. If you have witnesses, their statements should also be obtained. If you were physically or sexually harmed, let the office know. The clearer your account of the incident and the more information you can provide, the easier it will be for you to file charges later, if you decide to do so.
- Seek treatment if you are physically assaulted. If you were physically or sexually assaulted, you need to seek medical attention as soon as possible, so that a physician can determine the extent of your injuries and treat or prevent sexually transmitted diseases. Hospitals can also screen for sedatives or “date rape” drugs.
- Seek help even if the assault was not physical. Even if the assault was not physical, you should seek professional help in the form of a therapist or counselor. You should also consider connecting with fellow assault survivors. Listening to their experiences and sharing your own can help with the healing process and boost your ability to cope with traumatic stress.
- Preserve any evidence. You may be tempted to discard any evidence of an assault as a means of putting it behind you. It’s important that you don’t. Whether the assault is in the form of threatening emails or torn or bloodstained clothing, we recommend you retain all the evidence that may help you if you decide to pursue charges. If you plan to have a sexual assault forensic exam, do not apply any of the following until you have contacted the police and received medical attention:
- Change clothes
- Bathe or shower
- Comb your hair
- Eat or drink
- Clean the crime scene
- Move anything touched by the offender