I have been a victim of sexual abuse, but... who will believe me if there are no witnesses? - Sagué Abogados penalistas
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I have been a victim of sexual abuse, but… who will believe me if there are no witnesses?

I have been a victim of sexual abuse, but… who will believe me if there are no witnesses?

What happens when the only evidence incriminating the defendant for a crime of sexual abuse or assault is the statement of the alleged victim?

What happens when there are no direct witnesses to the facts to corroborate the complainant’s version?

Well, the victim’s statementThe Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court have recognized this on numerous occasions in their jurisprudence, can be considered sufficient evidence to overturn the presumption of innocence of the accused, even when it is the only direct evidence of the facts, a common circumstance in crimes against sexual freedom and indemnity, which, by their very nature, usually take place in a private space, without third parties.

Then, we must know what factors are important to consider that the victim’s version is sufficient to convict a person as a perpetrator of a crime of sexual abuse or assault?

In this sense, our Jurisprudence has established a series of requirements that must be taken into account when assessing the credibility of the alleged victim’s version. These criteria are as follows (from among others, see Supreme Court Ruling 118/2019 of March 6):

1º. Absence of subjective disbelief: it must be verified that the victim’s statement has not been given for purposes of resentment, revenge or enmity or any other spurious intention against the reported person, which may taint his or her credibility.

2º. Verosimilitude of the testimony: the victim’s statement must be logical, credible, coherent, without contradictions, corroborated by objective data of a peripheral nature, such as a medical and/or psychological report of the victim, images, or an indirect witness of the facts, among others.

3º. Persistent incriminationThe victim must maintain the same story throughout the procedure (no essential modifications in the successive statements made), his statement must be concrete and unambiguous.

Thus, when, in the face of allegedly criminal acts, we have the victim’s statement as the only incriminating evidence, it will be the judge who, based on the above parameters, must assess whether said statement is capable of being sufficient incriminating evidence to destroy the presumption of innocence of the accused and, therefore, to convict him for the acts being prosecuted.

Therefore, it is very important to bear in mind that, at Although we are faced with an aggression or abuse that has been committed without the presence of witnesses, this does not automatically mean that criminal proceedings cannot be initiated against the alleged aggressor and, therefore, his conviction and imprisonment can be obtained.