Sexual Assaults on Cruise Ships Lawyer
Personal Injury Lawyers - Representing People Nationwide
Every year, more than four million passengers depart on vacation cruises from Florida ports alone. The cruise ship industry earns billions of dollars each year, and strives to provide a safe environment for its passengers. But one major cruise line reports an average of two rapes or sexual assaults per 100,000 passengers and 173 sexual assaults over a five-year period. This is despite strong disincentives for the cruise industry to include such incidences in their reports.
Despite recent agreements with the Coast Guard and the FBI to improve and standardize crime reporting by cruise lines, crime-data reporting continues to be voluntary, rather than mandatory. Coast Guard and FBI officials have also acknowledged that because the predominant majority of cruise ships fly under foreign flags and aren't under U.S. jurisdiction outside of U.S. waters, they face complex jurisdictional problems. In fact, U.S. authorities often cannot board a cruise ship without permission.
Publicity about rapes and sexual assaults can give the impression to the vacationing public of danger on cruise ships and can damage the industry. And paying insurance claims as a result of such incidences also cuts into their profits. But the bottom line is that because these attacks take place at sea, victims of rape and sexual assault are at a marked disadvantage.
In most cases, sexual assault victims aboard a cruise ship must rely on the ship's security personnel, rather than on a prompt police investigation. But security personnel may lack the necessary investigating skills and the authority to detain suspects without clear or compelling evidence. And because these attacks are bad for business, investigations that are undertaken by them may be done so half-heartedly.
If you or a loved one has become the victim of a sexual assault on a cruise ship or in a cruise ship supervised or sanctioned onshore expedition, there are certain steps that you can and should take, including:
- Immediately report the incident to the cruise ship's security and doctor.
- Make a full, detailed report.
- Try not to disturb crime scene evidence or possible DNA on your body until you have a rape kit done.
- Insist that the cruise ship's doctor do a rape kit and, if denied, have one done as soon as you reach the nearest port of call.
- If denied a rape kit at the nearest port of call, have one done as soon as you return to your homeland.
- Take photographs of any injuries you have suffered.
- As soon as you are able to, while your mind is still fresh, write a separate journal with as much detail as you can remember. Include details that may seem insignificant at the time. Write down what happened before, during, and after the incident, and include names, times, places, and what the crew did and said in response to the incident. Save the journal for your attorney.
- As soon as you return to your homeland, make another report to police authorities
- Contact an attorney
Your cruise ship ticket usually specifies how long after the sexual assault an injury claim may be brought. It also usually includes where a claim may be brought along with numerous other stipulations intended to protect the cruise line. You should therefore promptly seek legal representation from a competent attorney with successful experience in cruise ship sexual assault cases.
Contact us today to find an experienced cruise ship injury lawyer near you.