Q: What is statutory rape?
A: Statutory rape is sex with someone 13, 14, or 15 years old and a person four or more years older. It is a crime. Even if the younger person agrees to or asks for sex, it is a crime for the older person to take part.
Q: What if a 12 year old or someone younger is having sex?
A: If a person has sex with someone at least 12 years old, and he/she is four or more years older, it is a very serious crime – first degree sex offense. If your partner is under 16 and you are three or more years younger than he, he is guilty of taking indecent liberties. Both acts are criminal for your partner, even if you agreed to sex or even invited it.
Q: What is Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS)?
A: Special Immigrant Juvenile Status is a special immigration status for unmarried minors who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned by their parents. You can qualify for SIJS only if a judge decides that you have been abused, neglected, or abandoned and that you are eligible for long-term foster care. If you qualify, (1) the judge must put you in the custody of a state agency, which in NC would probably be the department of social services (DSS), and (2) the judge must also decide that it is in your best interest not to return to your home country. A minor who gets a SIJS will be treated almost the same as a lawful permanent resident (an immigrant with a “green card”). He/she will be allowed to work in the U.S. and be able to become a citizen after five years. SIJS is only for minors. In NC, and immigrant 18 years or older cannot obtain a SIJS. If you think you are eligible for SIJS, talk to an immigration lawyer as soon as possible. The process for getting this status can take a long time, and if you turn 18 before the process is complete, you will no longer be eligible for SIJS.
Q: What is a U Visa?
A: A Visa gives a non-citizen legal permission to be in the U.S. The U Visa is a special kind of visa that is only available to crime victims who have suffered serious abuse. You could be eligible for a U Visa if you have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of rape, domestic violence, involuntary servitude, sex trafficking (being brought to the U.S. from your home country by someone who forces you to perform sex acts for money), or a number of other crimes. You do not have to be under age 18 to obtain a U Visa. If you think you are eligible for a U Visa, talk to an immigration lawyer.
Q: Where can I find a lawyer to help with SIJS or a U Visa?
A: If you have a social worker or a guardian ad litem (someone the court appointed to help you in a juvenile court case), that person may be able to help you find a lawyer. You may also contact the North Carolina Justice Center’s Immigration Legal Assistance Program at 1-888-251-2776 (they speak both English and Spanish). Information about this program is also available on the internet at http://www.ncjustice.org/work/index.php (click on Immigrant Issues). If the Justice Center is unable to help you, they may be able to refer you to another agency or lawyer for help.
Q: If a minor goes to the doctor to receive medical treatment after a rape or sexual offense, does the doctor have to contact the minor’s parents?
A: NC law allows a minor to go see a doctor on his/her own. The law states that the doctor should not tell anyone about the visit under these circumstances. The doctor MUST notify or tell someone if the minor’s health is in grave danger.
Q: Who is a minor
A: A minor is anyone 17 years old and younger
Q: What must parents do for their minor children?
A: The law says that parents have to take care of and supervise a minor child. They must see that the child has food, clothing, and a place to stay. They must also see that the child gets health care and goes to school until the age of 16. Parents must not abuse or neglect a child or let anyone else do that. If you are 17 or younger, your parents have these duties toward you.
Q: If a minor is raped, tells their parent and the parent takes them to the hospital, does the parent have a right to know details of their visit?
A: North Carolina law allows the minor to see a doctor after the rape either with or without your parent or guardian. The law says the doctor should not tell anyone, including the parent/guardian, details of your visit. This is called patient confidentiality. The doctor can only tell the child’s parent/guardian details of the visit if the child’s life is in danger. Then the doctor must consult the parent/guardian. It is a good idea for the child to inform the doctor/nurse how much you want other people to know about your medical condition. If you don’t tell the doctor/nurse differently, they may think you want the parent/guardian who is with you to know all about it.
Q: Can a parent/guardian make their child submit to a rape kit exam?
A: No. The doctor/nurse should not discuss patient details with the parent/guardian unless the child has expressed to the medical examiner that other people can know of the patient’s diagnosis/options.
Keep in mind, this offers legal information, not legal advice for a particular situation. If a parent has been in an examining room with their child then patient confidentiality is gone. Also, there is often a difference between the maturity level/knowledge a 12 year old has about sex than a 15/16 year old.
Therefore, in regards to decision making regarding medical care, a doctor may prefer to let the parent’s decisions of outweigh those of the child, especially if the parent has been present throughout the entire examination.