Handling of Sexual Assault and Rape on Ocean Liners

Being sexually assaulted and/or raped while traveling on a cruise ship can be a traumatic experience for the victim and those traveling with him or her. The devastation is not only physical, but also emotional and psychological. Cruisers typically view cruising as a fun and affordable way to vacation and enjoy new experiences with their loved ones; however, the trip can turn tragic in only a short period of time.

A cruise ship rape attorney at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. who regularly works with cruise ship victims is well aware that the nonexistence of law enforcement officers on cruise ships, along with a certain level of isolation that comes with cruising the high seas, increases the probability of crimes being committed onboard. That said, when it comes to rape and sexual assault crimes, many individuals may have questions or concerns with how such crimes are viewed and handled while cruising. Our firm’s legal team can assist you with answering those questions.

Cruise Ships: Prime Ground for Rape and Sexual Assault

Some cruise ships are very large vessels that have miles and miles of long walkways and halls where a passenger can become lost or confused. Given the layout of ships, such passageways can provide unscrupulous individuals with a prime opportunity to sexually assault and/or rape someone with almost no chance of being seen. While it is true that cruise employees are expected to go through a screening process prior to being hired, some cruise lines mistakenly hire individuals who end up attacking unsuspecting passengers.

However, it is not only crew members who pose threats to passengers. Other travelers, particularly those who have been drinking alcoholic beverages throughout the day, also can be dangerous and might take advantage of any chance to force themselves on someone. A cruise ship rape lawyer who has experience handling such cases knows that, depending on the facts of the case, any kind of unwelcomed sexual contact can be deemed a sexual assault. Additionally, if the assailant takes it a step further and forces intercourse on another, that can possibly be deemed as rape.

Cruise lines are responsible for the reasonable safety of all of their passengers at all times, and if they do not have sufficient security measures in place to prevent or hinder such acts from occurring on their ships, they can be held legally liable. Further, they are strictly liable for any sexual assaults committed by crew members on passengers.

Criminal vs. Civil Aspects of Cruise Ship Assault and Rape Cases

A criminal court can have jurisdiction over cases that involve rape and sexual assaults that occur on cruise ships, but jurisdiction might require the simultaneous involvement of several countries and/or states. Also, based on where the ship was at the time of the incident, or the citizenship or residency of the perpetrator or the victim, the U.S. might be entitled to exercise some level of jurisdiction.

Victims also should take note that if they choose to work with attorneys who handle rape and sexual assault causes, those attorneys also can assist them with holding the proper parties responsible for the incident from a civil standpoint. Cruise ship victims are entitled to file a lawsuit against the cruise line in order to gain compensation for pain and suffering, medical treatment and other incident-related expenses.

Victims can seek monetary damages in civil court, and oftentimes this is the best recourse they have to fully pursue their attackers, not in criminal court. Anyone who has been victimized by a cruise employee or another passenger is encouraged to speak with a cruise ship rape lawyer at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. as soon as possible to get the justice you deserve.