Q: Will my school or my parents find out if I talk to Ms. Pustilnik?
A: No. Our attorney works for you, not your school and not your parents. In fact, she is legally bound to confidentiality. Your school or your parents will not find out that you spoke with Ms. Pustilnik unless you tell them.
Q: Will my assailant know I spoke to a lawyer?
A: No. Absolutely not.
Q: Do I qualify for Legal Aid? What if my parents make enough money to afford an attorney?
A: Your parent’s income is not considered when determining if you qualify for SAAF services. Neither is your car, funds held in trust for you, or other non-liquid assets.
Q: What if my assault happened over a year ago?
A: In Virginia, there is no statute of limitations for felony sexual assault charges, like rape (or attempted rape) or aggravated sexual battery (or attempted aggravated sexual battery). That means there is no time limit regarding when the assailant can be prosecuted for the crime. There are just a few sexual assault crimes that are misdemeanors and have a one-year statute of limitations.
As for your options within the UVA system, it is important to know that the school’s Sexual Misconduct Board will only pursue an investigation while you and your assailant are both students.
Q: What if my assault occurred off-campus or over the summer?
A: For a criminal case, it does not matter the location or time of year. Likewise for a Sexual Misconduct Board case, any assault between students is relevant regardless of the incident’s location or time of year.
Q: What if my assailant wasn’t as student?
A: You can still seek accommodation from the University, however the Sexual Misconduct Board is only used to adjudicate incidents between students. The criminal courts remain a viable option and SAAF counsel will apply to that situation.