Can I keep my case from becoming public knowledge, even if I want to pursue the case in court?

Yes and no. In the criminal context, a victim’s name can be sealed, but in the event of a trial, the victim has to be prepared to testify against the offender. And while children can often testify by a video feed from another room outside the courtroom, adult victims will usually have to testify while facing the offender in court. People will see the victim and to that extent, your identity will become public.

Newsmedia will usually keep the victims name anonymous; and some states have privacy laws protecting victims’ identities from public disclosure.

If you make a claim to an insurance company representing the offender, they will know the victim’s identity but will be motivated to keep the information private out of concern for the reputation of the person or entity they insure, if not out of concern for the victim.

In a civil suit for money damages, the victim’s name can be disguised, usually as Jane Doe or John Doe. However, the offender’s attorney and offender will usually know the victim’s identity, either from discovering it during the pendency of the criminal or civil case, or more likely, because they are already familiar with the victim. Remember, many cases of sex abuse are committed by people who know the victim.


If you have a personal injury, workers' compensation, social security disability, elder or nursing home abuse, or sexual abuse case, please contact Black, Chapman, Petersen & Stevens by filling out the form below. The consultation is free and we only receive compensation if we obtain benefits for you.


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