Reading these posts allows them to be grouped around two ideas that have been documented for a long time. On the other hand, victims of sexual or spousal violence rarely receive reparations, and when this is the case, it is often for ridiculous amounts compared to the poverty created by the facts and people involved. On the other hand, the motives of the complaint are other (keep the offender out of harm’s way, protect other potential victims, etc.).
The battle has turned: before the #MeToo wave, victims had to fight for their belief. The plethora of testimonials helped move the lines on this point (certainly still not enough). The defense system against victims has changed: it is not about questioning the veracity of their words, but about attacking their motives.
Victims – especially when they denounce the actions of the rich and powerful – will be, according to the misconception, but the Ipsos study characterizes the population as well, driven by the temptation to earn. Through an individual reflection of perspective, the aggressor becomes the victim; The real victim finds himself summoned to defend himself from any motive for profit, as in the case of the Cavalaire bars in which the innkeeper was accused of sexual contact and violence against two customers on July 19, 2020, and his defense consisted in blaming the latter who wanted, according to him, “Grab the money…”.
Undoubtedly, there are many reasons to file a complaint; It is necessary because the legal path is long and trying for the victims. Among them, the desire for compensation is quite legitimate.
The victim, by seeking reparations either from the abuser or through the Commissions for Crime Victims Compensation (CIVI) system and the Victims Guarantee Fund, of National Solidarity, uses only a right recognized by law and by supranational texts.
From a legal point of view, compensation for the victim is based on the realization of the right to reparation, which is derived from civil liability, and which civil law categorizes among the “various ways in which property is acquired”. Thus, obtaining compensation is only one way among other ways of obtaining money, and no one should question the legitimacy of the victim to assert his rights.
Compensation for victims of sexual violence basically fills in the rules of civil liability stipulated in Articles 1240 et seq. of the Civil Code. The law, by providing for the obligation of the offender to remedy the consequences of his actions, did not distinguish between damage to property and damage to a person, and between the so-called moral or immaterial damages and material ones.
The first stumbling block a victim risks delinquency in is evidence: they must already prove every element necessary to the success of their claim. Acts of violence, which are difficult to prove, except in cases where they have left traces that have been verified by a physician, or when witnesses or even recordings testify to the facts, and more so when the violence occurs inside. Family context. The damage, with all its elements, and above all the causal relationship between each aspect of the damage and the violence: it is often very difficult to prove that depression or interruption of professional activity is a consequence of the violence experienced.
The second major obstacle is the prescription, and this extinction of any action potential falls due to the passage of time. Article 2226 of the Civil Code calls us to distinguish between the case in which the acts were committed against an adult, and the case in which the minor is the victim.
For adults, the prescription is 10 years of standardization; On a minor, 20 years of his majority – but if the merger is late, it will be from consolidation. Standardization is a legal medical concept. It is obtained when the victim’s situation is, in all likelihood, no longer likely to change. Where the harm the victim complains of is essentially psychological in nature, the characterization of this amalgamation is accurate, and it is the order of the experts, under the vigil of the judge.
In France, there are no punitive damages
As for the solvency of the perpetrator of acts of sexual violence, the consequences of which obviously cannot be charged to his liability insurance company, it is no longer a problem now for the victims, who can find in the mechanisms managed by the Guarantee Fund for Victims of Sexual Violence. Means of getting the compensation they deserve.
It should also be remembered that in France, there are no punitive damages. Thus, the sums that the victim can receive depend neither on the author’s wealth nor on the gravity of his fault; It is measured only by how severe the consequences are for the victim. So the situation is completely different from the situation in the United States, where disciplinary damages It is intended to punish, depends on the wealth of the author and can reach tens of millions of dollars.
Acts of sexual violence violate the rights of the victim: it is impossible to return to the previous situation, and respect for the rights of the victim cannot be guaranteed. What the law of reparation can do is pay for these rights, in other words, give money to the victim. These amounts are freely available to the victim: he does not have to return the favor to anyone in the way he intends to use it.
To rationalize compensation, the legal technique uses a list of damage items presented in President Dintilhac’s report. Each item corresponds to the right of the infringer, which must be paid by the equivalent of the victim. The judge is free to determine the damages for each position; Various reference systems, the most widely used being Mr. Mornier’s system, and they provide numbers.
The victim is entitled to compensation for these health expenses, past and future – hence in particular the cost of psychological or psychological follow-up (after deducting payments from the Social Security Fund, where applicable). She can still claim compensation for the loss of her professional earnings – but it will be very difficult for her to provide basic evidence of a causal relationship between the discontinuation or restriction of her professional activity and the violence of which she was a victim.
Careful management of the suffering you endure
Suffering that was initially incurred is assessed by an expert physician on a seven-point scale. Psychological suffering is significantly reduced through the available tools. The reference network indicates that this 3.5/7 frame was not exceeded, and again, the threshold was reached only if the victim’s attack justified psychotherapy linking antidepressant, anxiolytic, hypnotic psychotherapy and weekly psychotherapy after one year.
In comparison, hospitalization for physical injuries over 10 days allows you to get past that. At a rating of 3.5 / 7, the victim cannot hope to receive more than 15,000 euros for his psychological suffering. In the same way, permanent functional disability, expressed as a percentage, reflecting in particular a poor quality of life, is significantly undercompensated for victims of psychological damage primarily, and thus victims of sexual violence. However, avoidance syndromes and sleep disturbances can appear …
When victims of sexual violence experience disturbances in their sexual lives, such as loss of sexual desire, aversion to the sexual act, or increased difficulty accessing pleasure, they should be able to obtain compensation for the sexual harm. Unfortunately, this is primarily understood as a physiological attack on the genitals. Fortunately, some judges know how to depart from this purely physiological sense; An expert report noting for a rape victim “loss of sexual desire and inability to bond with a man, resulting in an unbearable recovery”, €35,000 was recently awarded for sexual damage by a Fort-de-France court call center. This same decision was also able to compensate for the loss of the institution, since the rape so disturbed the life of the victim that she lost the opportunity to implement the project of her family life.
This audacity is isolated, and it should not hide the fact that, all too often, victims of sexual violence are not compensated, when they have essentially only psychological harm to claim, as they should. The law should evolve to better accommodate compensation claims from these victims, which are perfectly legitimate.