Cruise Ships Sexual Assault | Sexual Assault Lawsuits
Sexual assaults on cruise ships were on the rise well before Covid-19 hit. Since 2016, sexual assaults on cruise ships have been reported by cruise lines to the Department of Transportation more than any other crime. According to The Washington Post, from 2018 to 2019, there was a 67% increase in sexual assault reports; most of which were committed by passengers.
In 2020, even as the number of actively operating cruise ships significantly declined because of Covid-19, the U.S. Department of Transportation still recorded 22 incidents of sexual assault. Again, passengers were responsible for the majority of these occurrences.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of sexual assault while on a cruise ship, you should Contact Us immediately. You can fill out an online contact form or call 504-684-4430 for a FREE Consultation. Remember: everything you share with your lawyer is confidential.
Cruise Ships Sexual Assault | What you need to know
In 2010, the U.S. Department of Transportation implemented the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA), to promote “the safety and security of cruise vessel industry passengers and crew.”
“Under the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA) of 2010 (Public Law 111-207), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), and the Maritime Administration (MARAD) cooperatively established model training standards covering crime prevention, detection, evidence preservation, and reporting of criminal activities in the international maritime environment.” (U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration)
Then, in 2014, some changes were made to address a few problems in the original text, as reported by AZ Central:
“Federal legislation four years ago was supposed to reveal the full picture of crimes aboard cruise ships. Deaths, sexual assaults, thefts and missing-person reports would have been readily available to the public via a U.S. Coast Guard website.
But slight wording changes in the law that weren’t discovered until 2012 rendered crime-reporting provisions useless. The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act provided less, not more, information about crimes on passenger ships operating out of U.S. ports.
The legislation calls for quarterly updates of each alleged crime, including the name of each cruise line on which it occurred and whether it was committed by a crew member or passenger. It also would track the number of people who go overboard.”
Cruise lines are responsible for the safety of both passengers and crew. If you or a loved one has been the victim of sexual assault while on a cruise ship, you should Contact Us immediately. Remember: everything you share with us is confidential.
Cruise Ships Sexual Assault | Types of Assault
According to reports by the U.S. Department of Transportation, passengers are the perpetrators of most of the sexual assaults committed on cruise ships.
Crew – Passenger or Crew – Crew
In cases when the perpetrator is a crewmember, the cruise line may have neglected its responsibility to create and maintain a safe environment through failures in hiring, training, and supervising its employees. It is important to report the assault and make sure to keep any evidence.
Passenger – Passenger
In situations like this, it will be necessary to provide more evidence that the cruise line did not offer proper safety measures, since the perpetrator is not a crew member. It will be important to show evidence that the cruise line did not provide a safe, properly supervised environment. Example: a perpetrator’s inappropriate behavior is reported to the crew and no appropriate action is taken and no preventative safety measures are put in place to keep other passengers safe, and the perpetrator is left free to repeat the inappropriate behavior or to attack again.
Passenger – Crew
While less common, when the perpetrator is a passenger and the victim is a crew member, the cruise line may have failed to adequately protect its employee from harm. It is important to report the assault and make sure to keep any evidence.
Cruise Ships Sexual Assault | Do I have a case?
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI):
“The principal law under which the U.S. exercises its Special Maritime and Territorial Jurisdiction is set forth in Section 7 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code. This statute provides, in relevant part, that the U.S. has jurisdiction over crimes committed on a ship if:
- The ship, regardless of flag, is a U.S.-owned vessel, either whole or in part, regardless of the nationality of the victim or the perpetrator, when such vessel is within the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction of the United States and out of the jurisdiction of any particular state;
- The offense by or against a U.S. national was committed outside the jurisdiction of any nation;
- The crime occurred in the U.S. territorial sea (within 12 miles of the coast), regardless of the nationality of the vessel, the victim, or the perpetrator; or
- The victim or perpetrator is a U.S. national on any vessel during a voyage that departed from or will arrive in a U.S. port.”
What you should do:
1) Report the crime to the ship’s security personnel;
2) Request to undergo a forensic sexual assault examination performed by the ship’s medical staff. It is important to keep all evidence of the crime intact. If you can, note the names and contact information of witnesses or other people involved in the assault or investigation;
3) Demand that the crime is recorded in the log book;
4) Contact local law enforcement, the FBI, the Coast Guard and the nearest US Consulate/Embassy (by law, the cruise ship personnel have to provide free and immediate access to them). Ship personnel also need to provide access to the National Sexual Assault Hotline program.
5) Upon arrival in the U.S., go to a doctor and/or a sexual assault treatment center. These can have different names depending on the city/state you are in. You can find one using RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)’s website.
6) It is important to reach out to family and friends for support. It is also paramount to hold the perpetrators accountable: sexual predators and the negligent institutions that failed to provide a safe environment and/or did not respond properly according to the law upon being notified about the crime.
Cruise lines are responsible for the safety of both passengers and crew. If you or a loved one has been the victim of sexual assault while on a cruise ship, you should Contact Us immediately. We are very compassionate, and we will guide you or your loved one through the entire process. Remember: everything you share with us is confidential.
Cruise Ships Sexual Assault | Cruise Vessel Security and Safety
Highlights from the Public Law 111–207 from 7/27/2010, also known as the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act:
“The owner of a vessel to which this section applies shall—
‘‘(1) maintain on the vessel adequate, in-date supplies of anti-retroviral medications and other medications designed to prevent sexually transmitted diseases after a sexual assault;
‘‘(2) maintain on the vessel equipment and materials for performing a medical examination in sexual assault cases to evaluate the patient for trauma, provide medical care, and preserve relevant medical evidence;
‘‘(3) make available on the vessel at all times medical staff who have undergone a credentialing process to verify that he or she—
‘‘(A) possesses a current physician’s or registered nurse’s license and—
‘‘(i) has at least 3 years of post-graduate or post- registration clinical practice in general and emergency medicine; or
‘‘(ii) holds board certification in emergency medicine, family practice medicine, or internal medicine;
‘‘(B) is able to provide assistance in the event of an alleged sexual assault, has received training in conducting forensic sexual assault examination, and is able to promptly perform such an examination upon request and provide proper medical treatment of a victim, including administration of anti-retroviral medications and other medications that may prevent the transmission of human immuno-deficiency virus and other sexually transmitted diseases; and
‘‘(C) meets guidelines established by the American College of Emergency Physicians relating to the treatment and care of victims of sexual assault;
‘‘(4) prepare, provide to the patient, and maintain written documentation of the findings of such examination that is signed by the patient; and
‘‘(5) provide the patient free and immediate access to—
‘‘(A) contact information for local law enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Coast Guard, the nearest United States consulate or embassy, and the National Sexual Assault Hotline program or other third party victim advocacy hotline service; and
‘‘(B) a private telephone line and Internet-accessible computer terminal by which the individual may confidentially access law enforcement officials, an attorney, and the information and support services available through the National Sexual Assault Hotline program or other third party victim advocacy hotline service.”
Cruise Ships Sexual Assault | FREE Consultation
Cruise lines are responsible for the safety of both passengers and crew. If you or a loved one has been the victim of sexual assault while on a cruise ship, you should Contact Us immediately. We are very compassionate, and we will guide you or your loved one through the entire process.
The attorneys at Peiffer Wolf are committed to providing first-class legal representation to clients who are survivors of sexual assault. We are very compassionate, and we will guide you or your loved one through the entire process. It is our goal to seek justice for those who have suffered at the hands of others.
Sexual Abuse & Sexual Assault Lawsuits | FREE Consultation
Peiffer Wolf Carr Kane Conway & Wise is a nationally recognized law firm. Our team of attorneys is fully prepared to assist our clients, protect their privacy, and guide them through the process. If you or a loved one has been the victim of sexual abuse or sexual assault, Contact Us immediately. You can fill out an online contact form or call 504-684-4430 for a FREE Consultation.
Remember: everything you share with your lawyer is confidential.