Just before news of the Covid-19 pandemic began to hit the airwaves in early 2020, data released at the end of 2019 painted a disturbing picture of sexual assault in the cruise line industry. Covid-19 coverage then dominated cruise ship headlines for much of the remaining year. However, as the industry begins creating plans for the future, passengers may want to revisit this shocking 2019 data and consider how it may impact their travel plans.
In December of 2019, reports began to emerge that FBI data showed 35 reported sexual assaults aboard cruise ships between July and September of 2019. While the number may not sound significant at face value, take into account that those 35 sexual assaults represent a 35 percent increase from the previous quarter and a 67 percent increase year-over-year. These numbers also represent only those sexual assaults that ended up being reported to authorities. While other crimes are also committed at sea, sexual assaults make up the largest proportion of reported crimes. Forbes reports that of the 46 reported crimes during that July and September period, 35 were sexual assault complaints.
International outlets have also picked up on the cruise ship and sexual assault trend. Some reports claim that large quantities of alcohol combined with little to no independent police presence onboard ships are a recipe for sexual violence. Girls and young women vulnerable to sexual abuse may find themselves put in a frightening situation in an environment where they may not know who to turn to for help. This is especially true in cases where the sexual assault was perpetrated by a member of the crew or a security member.
To add insult to injury for many victims of sexual assault aboard cruise lines, investigating these crimes can be challenging. Jurisdiction can enter muddy waters depending on where the crime was committed. Authorities may need to engage in international negotiations with other countries and law enforcement in foreign ports. This complex process can become extremely frustrating and taxing for victims still trying to cope with the trauma of a sexual assault.
For several years media outlets have been talking about the problem of sexual assault aboard cruise ships. The public may not have been fully aware of the scope of the problem because of the way crimes aboard cruise ships were originally reported and categorized. Since these reporting standards were changed in 2016, it is easier to recognize that sexual assaults on cruise lines are becoming a growing and widespread problem. Just as sexual assault numbers peaked in 2019, the cruise industry was hit with the Covid-19 pandemic, and priorities shifted to infectious disease control. Plans for tackling or addressing sexual assaults are left to media statements declaring “passenger safety is a top priority.”
The Legal Team at Louis A. Vucci P.A. Can Help
A cruise ship excursion should be a dream vacation, not a nightmare at sea. If you or a loved one has been sexually assaulted aboard a cruise ship, you don’t have to remain a silent victim. The legal team at Louis A. Vucci P.A. can offer you compassionate support and a legal outlet to seek justice.
Contact our experienced legal team today for a free and confidential case evaluation. We will treat your situation with sensitivity and show you the compassion and dignity that you deserve. Call (786) 375-0344 to schedule your consultation today.