Kansas City Sexual Assault and Abuse Attorneys

Experienced Sexual Assault and Abuse Lawyers Fighting for Victims

Sexual assault and abuse often happens to people who cannot protect themselves such as children, the elderly and the disabled. Perpetrators see these vulnerable people as easy targets because they are either too young, too old, or too disabled to fight back or report the crime. Dollar Burns Becker & Hershewe are staunch advocates for survivors of sexual assault and abuse. If you or a loved one is a survivor of sexual assault or abuse, contact our firm by calling (816) 876-2600 or online by completing our contact form.

Our partners, Jill Kanatzar and Lauren Dollar, both were Assistant Prosecutors in Jackson County, Missouri prior to joining the firm. During their time as Assistant Prosecutors they came face to face with such perpetrators and used the criminal law to obtain justice. It was in this position they found their callings to be the voice of survivors.

Jill and Lauren carry this same passion and resolve in representing survivors in civil cases. They understand the devastating effects of sexual abuse and are devoted to fighting for justice. They work tirelessly to obtain justice for their clients and to ensure what has happened to their clients does not happen to others..

With Jill’s and Lauren’s experience with both the criminal and civil justice systems, they have the unique knowledge and skill to walk each survivor through the difficult interplay between the two systems. Jill and Lauren ensure that all avenues for justice and compensation are explored.

Voice for the Vulnerable

While representing the State of Missouri, Jill tried sexual assault and abuse cases including forcible rape, sodomy, statutory rape, and sexual assault. She has witnessed the strength survivors maintain and helped victims from an 89-year-old woman violently raped in her own home by an intruder to a 9-month-old child molested by a caregiver. Lauren prosecuted perpetrators who assaulted or abused the vulnerable, including helping an 11-year old tell her story of the abuse she witnessed her mother suffer and advocating for two young girls molested by an older male. Jill and Lauren endlessly fight to protect those who cannot always protect themselves.

If you or a loved one has been sexually abused by a perpetrator in an institution such as a church, day care provider, school, group home or nursing home, we want to help. No one should take advantage of vulnerable members of our community. No matter the situation.

Support and Resources for Sexual Assault Survivors in Kansas City

Survivors of sexual assault in Kansas City have access to many resources aimed at providing the necessary support, counseling, and advocacy to help them navigate the difficult journey toward healing and justice. Recognizing the trauma that survivors endure, several organizations within the community offer specialized services to address the needs of many groups.

The Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault (MOCSA) offers comprehensive support services to survivors of sexual abuse and assault. You can reach MOCSA’s 24-hour crisis telephone line at (816) 531-0233. In addition to 24/7 emergency support, MOCSA also offers several support groups for survivors of sexual violence. These include:

  • Women’s Support Group: This group provides a safe and understanding environment for women and femmes over 18, including trans, cis, and nonbinary individuals who are survivors of sexual abuse and assault, to share experiences and gain mutual support.
  • Men’s Support Group: This space is designed for all male survivors age 18 and over, including trans, cis, and non-binary individuals, offering a space to discuss their experiences and receive support in a confidential setting.
  • Johnson County Community College (JCCC) Support Group: This group focuses on student survivors at JCCC, creating a supportive community for survivors in academic environments to come together.
  • Teen Support Group: This group aims to provide teenagers with a safe space to explore the impacts of trauma, learn healthy coping mechanisms, and understand the connection between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in a supportive peer group setting.
  • Spanish Language Support Group: This group makes support accessible to all Spanish-speaking survivors age 18 and over, ensuring that language is not a barrier to receiving help and community support.

In addition to MOCSA, many other organizations across Kansas City help connect survivors to advocates, medical care, and more. These include:

  • The Kansas City Anti-Violence Project (KCAVP): KCAVP is dedicated to serving the LGBTQ+ community by offering support for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and bias crimes. Its services include emergency assistance, advocacy, and education programs. You can contact KCAVP at (816) 561-0550.
  • Rose Brooks Center: This organization provides comprehensive services for those affected by domestic violence, which often intersects with sexual assault. Services include a 24-hour crisis line—available at (816) 861-6100—emergency shelter, support groups, and counseling.
  • St. Luke’s – Plaza Hospital and Truman Medical Center – Hospital Hill: These medical facilities have a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) available to perform sexual assault exams, test for sexually transmitted infections, and prescribe emergency contraception.

Compensation and Damages in a Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

For survivors seeking justice and healing, pursuing a civil lawsuit for sexual assault can be a critical step toward healing and recovery. Unlike criminal proceedings, which aim to punish the offender, civil lawsuits focus on compensating the survivor for their suffering and losses. Survivors can pursue civil action in addition to any criminal charges, seeking monetary damages to aid in their recovery process. 

Civil lawsuits provide a means to address the personal impacts of the assault, offering survivors a path to financial relief for the harm they’ve endured. These claims can award damages to cover a wide range of impacts, such as:

  • Medical Expenses: Survivors can receive compensation for all medical treatments related to the assault, which encompasses immediate medical care, ongoing therapy, psychiatric treatment, and any rehabilitation services. This coverage aims to alleviate the financial burden of the healing process, ensuring survivors can access the necessary support without concern for cost.
  • Pain and Suffering: This category of damages acknowledges the intense emotional and physical distress that survivors endure due to the assault. It compensates for mental anguish, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other psychological effects that can persist long after the physical injuries have healed. 
  • Lost Wages: Survivors may be compensated for income lost if they were unable to work due to the immediate aftermath of the assault or ongoing psychological distress. This includes not just missed paychecks but also lost opportunities for overtime, bonuses, promotions, and career advancement that were affected by the trauma. 
  • Loss of Earning Capacity: If the survivor’s ability to earn a living has been permanently impacted by the assault, through either physical injury or psychological trauma, they may be awarded damages for loss of earning capacity. This considers the difference between the survivor’s projected earnings before the assault and their reduced earning potential in the aftermath.
  • Punitive Damages: In instances where the perpetrator’s conduct was particularly heinous or reckless, the court may award punitive damages. These are intended to punish the offender beyond compensatory damages and serve as a deterrent against the same egregious behavior in the future. 

What Are The Time Limits For Sexual Assault Cases in Kansas City?

If you want to pursue a sexual assault lawsuit in Kansas City, it is important to act as soon as possible. The statute of limitations is a law that sets a deadline for filing certain types of lawsuits. If a claim is filed after the statute of limitations expires, the court will likely dismiss your case.For adult survivors in Missouri, the statute of limitations is five years from the date of the incident. This timeframe is extended for survivors of childhood sexual abuse; survivors can bring lawsuits within 10 years of their 21st birthday or three years of the abuse’s discovery. 

Missouri Revised Statutes Title XXXV Civil Procedure and Limitations § 516.120. What actions within five years.

(4)  An action for taking, detaining or injuring any goods or chattels, including actions for the recovery of specific personal property, or for any other injury to the person or rights of another, not arising on contract and not herein otherwise enumerated.

Missouri Revised Statutes Title XXXVI. Statutory Actions and Torts § 537.046. Childhood sexual abuse, injury or illness defined–action for damages may be brought, when

  1. Any action to recover damages from injury or illness caused by childhood sexual abuse in an action brought pursuant to this section shall be commenced within ten years of the plaintiff attaining the age of twenty-one or within three years of the date the plaintiff discovers, or reasonably should have discovered, that the injury or illness was caused by childhood sexual abuse, whichever later occurs.

Helping Navigate What’s Next

Incidents of sexual abuse go unreported because of the misplaced shame, intimidation, and the feeling of hopelessness commonly experienced by survivors. The physical and emotional distress left by these heinous acts is something survivors will confront for life.

Allowing the criminal justice system to protect others from this same harm should take priority. However, in certain situations additional legal recourses and compensation may be available beyond criminal prosecution.
The criminal justice system often cannot fully compensate the survivor for the damage caused nor provide the resources needed to heal. Yet, whether the perpetrator is a caregiver, clergy, nursing home staff or other resident, student or school employee, the civil justice system can hold both the perpetrator, and any entity which employed or supervised the perpetrator, accountable.

Dollar, Burns, Becker & Hershewe has fought for and won millions of dollars in settlements for survivors of sexual abuse. In their work, Jill and Lauren not only fight for financial compensation for their clients, but they work to ensure steps are taken nationwide to avoid similar conduct by other individuals placed in a position of trust. If you or a loved one is a survivor of sexual assault or abuse and would like to inquire about your legal rights, contact o Kansas City injury lawyer at our law firm by calling (818) 876-2600. We are here to advocate for you and to be your voice for change.