A Vancouver rape counsellor says if the criminal justice system fails the teenage girl who was allegedly gang raped at a rave last weekend, there are other ways she can fight back.

Daisy Kler of Vancouver Rape Relief says Canadian sex assault victims have successfully sued their attackers in civil court before.

"It has happened," she said. "Women may want to do that because they see no other way of getting justice."

Kler says many victims don't trust the criminal system because of its track record with rape cases. "There's a two to five per cent criminal conviction rate for sexual assault, so we have a long way to go," she said.

"At our rape crisis centre, less than 30 per cent of the women who call us even want to engage in the criminal justice system."

Charges still a month away

Two people have been arrested in connection with the assault on the 16-year-old, who Mounties believe was raped by five to seven men, but authorities say it could be another month before any charges are laid.

Meanwhile, the victim's trauma continues online as her peers spread photos of the assault on sites like Facebook, despite police warnings that the images constitute child pornography.

Police have been desperately trying to have the photos scrubbed from the internet, collaborating with technical crime experts in Ottawa and Facebook staff directly – but they admit there's an uphill battle ahead.

Posted pictures and hurtful comments can be impossible to completely erase from the web, but there are legal options for victims of internet abuse.

North Vancouver teenager Katrina Jensen was horrified when an anonymous poster said vulgar things about her on a website called TheDirty.com – but her father has filed a complaint with the privacy commissioner, and says he will sue under privacy and defamation laws if the issue is not resolved.

New trend in child porn restitution

In the United States, victims of child pornography also have gained the power to sue others solely for possessing their photographs.

In February 2009, a woman sued a former Pfizer Inc. executive who was convicted of possessing digital pictures of her in her childhood. She received an out-of-court settlement for $130,000.

Several similar cases followed, some with damages in the millions of dollars.

With a report from CTV British Columbia's Jon Woodward