Recently, a passenger sued Carnival Cruise ship on account of suffering a sexual assault by an unidentified individual while using the ladies’ restroom in the ship and alleged that, in spite of reporting the incident to the support staff on the same day, no active measure was taken by the cruise ship crew or personnel. Our team of Miami cruise ship lawyers are not surprised. This brings to light the fact that sexual assaults on cruise ships are not uncommon at all.
What to Do if You are Sexually Assaulted on a Cruise Ship
If you and/or the perpetrator of a sexual assault is an American national and the ship sails from or to a U.S. port, then the FBI will have jurisdiction over the case. In other circumstances, it is more complicated to determine which agency—or even which country—has jurisdiction. The location of the vessel, the nationality of the perpetrator or victim, ownership of the vessel, the points of embarkation and debarkation, and the country in which the vessel is flagged may all have an effect on jurisdiction.
If you ever happen to experience sexual assault on a cruise ship:
- You may wish to seek medical attention to treat any possible injuries and to check for injuries you may not be able to see. If you are at sea, you can receive care from the ship’s medical facilities. If you are shore side, visit the nearest emergency room or hospital.
- You have the right to confidentiality when you request and receive support services. Any information you provide to medical staff, counselors, and other support staff while receiving services after a sexual assault must remain confidential. This includes information disclosed during a sexual assault forensic exam and any other support services available.
- You have the right to a sexual assault forensic exam to collect DNA evidence that may help prosecute the perpetrator. If you wish to have an exam performed, try to avoid showering, changing your clothes, or cleaning the area where the assault occurred.
- If you are outside the U.S., you can find support from the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you are visiting. Consular officers are available for emergency assistance 24/7. They can connect you with a variety of resources to help, wherever you are. They do not provide direct legal counsel.
- You can report the crime to the FBI. If you are on board the ship when the crime occurs, contact the FBI and U.S. Coast Guard about the crime to receive advice on how to proceed. You can reach the FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C at 202.324.3000.
- You can report the crime on board. If the crime occurred on board the ship, you can report the incident to a cruise ship security officer as soon as possible. You have the right to insist that the scene of the crime be secured until law enforcement officials arrive. It may be helpful to write down the names and contact information of any individuals, both crew members and passengers, who witnessed or were involved in the incident.
Speak to an Experienced Cruise Ship Injury Lawyer Today
The cruise ship injury attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz, PA understand how to handle sexual assault cases that have taken place on a cruise ship. We understand the legal complexities and are licensed to practice law in all Florida state and federal courts. Additionally, our Florida law offices are located close to the port of Miami and Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. We are ready to help. Contact us for a free, completely confidential consultation.