If your family has recently been affected by sexual assault or child sexual abuse, you're not alone. Our lawyers help families like yours seek justice. Are you struggling with questions like:
- How could this crime have been prevented?
- Who can be held liable for failing to report or prevent misconduct?
- How can civil legal counsel help our family?
Our victims' rights attorneys serve survivors all over Pennsylvania from our law offices in Philadelphia, PA and can help you seek accountability and support after surviving a sexual crime.
We help hold negligent organizations and individuals liable for allowing victims to be sexually assaulted and abused.
"Terrific Lawyer." Brian handled our case with care and expertise.
"You Are Not A Victim. You Are A Survivor Of Sexual Abuse. It's Time To Heal."
- Meet Our Trusted Attorneys
- Why The Civil Justice System Matters
- Civil Lawsuits Against Direct Perpetrators
- Civil Lawsuits Against Negligent Third-Parties
- What Is Negligence?
- Pennsylvania Criminal Laws
- Pennsylvania Civil Statute Of Limitations
- Resources For Pennsylvania Victims
Were you or a loved one sexually abused or sexually assaulted in Pennsylvania? Our experienced attorneys can help. We understand the powerful and painful emotions that sexual abuse can leave behind. Know that you did nothing wrong. You are not to blame.
You were violated in a horrific way, but you can fight back. It's possible, thanks to Pennsylvania's strong tradition of civil common law. As a survivor in Pennsylvania, you have powerful legal rights, including the power to pursue a civil lawsuit against the parties responsible for the harm you have suffered. In some cases, eligible survivors may be able to pursue justice by filing a private claim for financial compensation. Anger, embarrassment, depression, shame, fear - these are natural reactions to a terrible trauma. If you are still struggling to deal with these painful emotions, know that you are not alone. Support is available. While it may feel sometimes as though you have nowhere or no one to turn to, you do.
Meet Our Trusted Attorneys
AbuseGuardian.com is sponsored by a national network of compassionate assault and sexual abuse attorneys. To pursue cases in Pennsylvania, our network has partnered with the experienced attorneys at Laffey, Bucci & Kent, a personal injury law firm based in Philadelphia.
Over 90 years of combined trial experience, the dedicated attorneys at Laffey, Bucci & Kent have helped countless sexual abuse and assault survivors pursue justice by filing private civil lawsuits. You can secure compensation, and force the responsible parties to be held accountable.
The attorneys of Laffey, Bucci & Kent have the resources and experience necessary to pursue your case with confidence. The firm's sexual assault and abuse practice team is led by firm Partner Brian Kent, Esq., a former criminal prosecutor in the Sex Crimes Unit of Montgomery County's District Attorney's Office. In that role, Brian fought every day to advance the rights of victims and prosecute dangerous offenders. He also gained invaluable experience working in the criminal justice system. Since moving to private practice, Brian's passion for protecting the rights of survivors has only grown.
Our experienced sexual abuse and assault team has helped numerous survivors find their voices after suffering a severe trauma. You have power, both inside and outside of the criminal justice system. Justice is possible.
We Believe You
You are not alone. At AbuseGuardian.com, our experienced attorneys believe sexual assault and abuse survivors. We believe that you have a powerful story that should be told. Far too often, survivors are bullied into silence, forced to live lives of quiet desperation as they struggle to come to terms with what happened to them. Shame and fear are common, while closure seems far away. You did nothing wrong. You did not deserve to be mistreated; no one does. No one deserves to be hurt, or used, or violated or forced to act in ways that they don't feel comfortable with. You deserve to be treated as a valuable person, filled with dignity and beauty and light.
Pennsylvania Civil Law Offers A Solution
You do not have to be defined by what happened to you. Recovery is possible, though it often takes years of difficult work and concerted action. We believe that you deserve justice. Whether or not the person who harmed you has been prosecuted, you can fight for justice on your own terms by pursuing a private civil lawsuit for compensation.
Thanks to Pennsylvania's powerful tradition of common law, survivors of sexual abuse and sexual assault have a choice. If you were violated by a criminal offender, you have the power to file a civil lawsuit and demand accountability from the responsible parties. Lawsuits can be filed against both the direct perpetrator of the misconduct, as well as any organizations, individuals or institutions that facilitated the abuse through their own negligence.
The Criminal Justice System Isn't Enough
Sexual assault and sexual abuse come in many forms, and can be perpetrated by any number of offenders. These horrific crimes can take place at any time, in any venue. It could be a family member, a trusted physician or a massage spa employee. It could be a nursing home worker, a daycare staff member or a priest. In most cases, sexual misconduct comes from the place we least expect, as the vast majority of these crimes are committed by someone we already know.
In any of these cases, we all agree that sexual assault and sexual abuse are horrendous violations that must be met by a swift response. We've all seen how the criminal justice system plays a critical role in responding to wrongdoing. The criminal justice system's role is to investigate and prosecute the direct perpetrators of sexual misconduct, secure convictions and incarcerate the offenders. But unfortunately, support for survivors often tends to be lacking, especially where financial compensation is concerned. The criminal justice system wasn't designed to support the victims of crime; it was created to punish offenders.
Finding Support After Sex Abuse
Due to its single-minded focus, the criminal justice system often falls short in providing concrete assistance to survivors. This is the power of the civil justice system, an alternative justice system in which survivors are allowed to tell their own stories and pursue justice on their own terms. The civil justice system provides survivors with another option. If you're looking for a strong network of support, someone to stand beside you through thick and thin, you'll find it by reaching out to a committed civil attorney.
How The Civil Justice System Helps Survivors
Our attorneys have seen it happen over and over. A sexual assault or sexual abuse survivor comes to our offices, hoping to pursue justice against the parties responsible for the misconduct. Many feel as though they were used by the criminal justice system, treated as glorified pieces of evidence. Now, they're looking to take control over their legal futures, searching for a venue in which they can tell their stories, without having to contest with the whims of a criminal prosecutor.
We offer these people hope. It's an unfortunate fact of our current legal system that the criminal justice system is not designed to support these survivors. The criminal justice system's goal is to hold criminal offenders accountable to society at large, not to individual victims. While this is necessary work, and many survivors are helped when the offender is convicted, this system doesn't put victims at the heart of the matter. Tragically, victims often become an afterthought. The civil justice system reverses this equation. As a survivor of sexual assault or sexual abuse, your story becomes the center of attention. The civil justice system's goal is to hold criminal offenders and the organizations that enabled them accountable to you, not to society as a whole. This is your venue, where justice becomes personal. In a very real sense, you, as the plaintiff, become the only person that matters.
Filing Your Lawsuit Against A Direct Perpetrator
Pennsylvania's powerful criminal code holds criminal offenders liable for their misconduct. These laws were crafted by legislatures over the course of decades to seek responsibility and impose punishments against offenders. But there is also a separate set of laws, codes of conduct and liability that have developed over the course of centuries. This is the civil legal code, a body of rules under which survivors of violence can hold their abusers accountable for financial compensation.
What Are Intentional Torts?
As we've already discussed, Pennsylvania law allows survivors to file civil lawsuits against both direct perpetrators of abuse and organizations or institutions that facilitated the wrongdoing through negligence. While these claims, for obvious reasons, are closely linked, in large part because they arise from the same act or acts of sexual abuse or sexual assault, they rely on separate legal theories contained in Pennsylvania's history of civil law.
Pennsylvania's body of common law sets out various causes of action - legitimate reasons to file suit against someone else. In most cases, lawsuits filed against the direct perpetrators of sex crimes will rely on three different legal theories, all of which are recognized by Pennsylvania's courts:
- Assault - Though many people think of "assault" as a violent attack against someone else, the term has a very specific meaning in Pennsylvania's civil law. In civil cases, the charge of "assault" is used to refer to the threat of violence, not the violence itself. The tort of assault includes any gesture or action or verbal statement that makes the victim fear the threat of imminent physical harm, assuming, however, that the threat or action would also make the average reasonable person apprehend the threat of imminent physical harm. Assault is about the threat of violence, not the violence that often follows the threat. As a result, successful lawsuits can be filed over assault even in cases where no physical contact was actually made.
- Battery - In Pennsylvania's civil law, "battery" refers to offensive or harmful physical contact. Technically, battery is the intentional touching of another person in an offensive or harmful manner without the other person's consent. Battery makes good on the threat of physical harm that we discussed in the tort of assault. It should be clear that the vast majority of sexual assault and sexual abuse cases satisfy the conditions necessary for the tort of battery.
- Intentional Infliction Of Emotional Distress - This tort should be fairly self-explanatory from its name. This tort holds when a defendant acts intentionally or recklessly in order to inflict emotional distress, behaving in an extreme and outrageous manner. Making a threat of future harm against someone else is one example.
These three causes of action are often referred to as intentional torts, because, unlike negligence, they require by definition a finding of intent on the part of the offender. In each case, the offender intended to inflict harm on the victim, rather than having made a mistake or error that resulted in harm unintentionally, as in many cases of negligence. When survivors file suit to pursue compensation from the crime's direct perpetrator, the intentional torts of assault, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress generally serve as the basis of the claim. In most cases, you'll see these three torts come together, as a package of three separate but co-occurring claims against the offender.
Third-Party Lawsuits: Filing Suit Against Institutions & Organizations
In addition to filing suit against individual offenders, Pennsylvania's strong body of civil law also allows survivors and their loved ones to pursue justice against the institutions or organizations that facilitate sexual abuse and sexual assault, either by concealing allegations, protecting offenders or failing to prevent sex crimes in the first place.
While direct offenders are the ones who actually perpetrate wrongdoing, many forms of misconduct are enabled by larger organizations or institutions that failed to prevent the abuse. Some institutions look the other way, ignoring sexual abuse and empowering dangerous predators to abuse additional unsuspecting victims. Other organizations take a more active approach, working to conceal crimes from the authorities.
One has only to think of the Catholic Church in this regard. This is an organization that, for almost a century, has consistently worked to protect dangerous predators by concealing sexual abuse cases from secular authorities. Behind each case of clergy abuse stands the Catholic Church and its decades-long secret policy of silencing victims, protecting child molesters and deceiving the public.
This, again, is the power of the civil justice system. The criminal justice system will never hold the Catholic Church accountable for its policies. The best the criminal justice system can do is to prosecute individual priests for having committed a sex crime. It usually can't touch Catholic parishes, or bishops who oversaw priests who sexually abused children.
In the civil justice system, these lawsuits become possible, and these nuanced stories of negligence and failure can be told. Needless to say, the behavior of the Catholic Church over the past decades has been unacceptable. No one should work to protect sexual abusers from justice, but the Catholic Church has done so for years. Thankfully, a new wave of public pressure is forcing the Catholic Church to take account for its actions.
A recent grand jury report commissioned by the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office has revealed the extent of sexual abuse within Pennsylvania churches, allowing the public an unflinching look into the way dozens of Catholic bishops and other church leaders have concealed misconduct cases over the years and throwing the Church into a renewed crisis. At the same time, hundreds of survivors for the first time are stepping into the open to pursue justice.
The push for renewed litigation against the Catholic Church is alive and well, and many states, including Pennsylvania, are even now considering new laws that would support survivors in their fight for accountability. Of course, criminal prosecutors across the nation are playing an essential role in these efforts, creating task forces on clergy sexual abuse to investigate and prosecute cases wherever possible. But much of this valuable work is taking place through the civil justice system, where survivors and their families have the right to file private civil lawsuits against the Church, bishops, deacons and individual priests.
Negligence: The Root Of Third-Party Lawsuits
The legal theory of negligence serves as the basis for the majority of sexual abuse and sexual assault lawsuits, at least when these claims involve a third-party defendant, some organization or individual distinct from the crime's direct perpetrator. At its core, negligence refers to the careless or reckless disregard for the safety and wellbeing of others.
Negligence requires duty. The concept of negligence recognizes that some people owe others a duty of care, an obligation to take reasonable steps to prevent the suffering of harm. Doctors, for example, owe their patients a duty to follow recognized standards of medical care, as well as a duty to provide care in a professional and courteous manner. Summer camps, as another example, owe campers and their families a duty to prevent harm, including the harm of sexual abuse.
Most businesses have a duty to prevent sexual abuse from occurring insofar as they can. And any business that works with young children has an obvious obligation to prevent the occurrence of abuse. Think of a daycare center that cares for dozens of children on a daily basis. Ethically and legally, child care centers owe children and families an obligation to provide adequate care to children. An aspect of this obligation is to take all reasonable steps to prevent child abuse from taking place.
The childcare center can fulfill its duty to provide sufficient care in any number of ways. Perhaps security cameras are installed in childcare areas to monitor employee interactions with the children. In most cases, thorough background checks should be performed for all new hires to filter out applicants with a history of sex crimes. Maybe a policy is implemented that no staff member can be alone with the children without a supervisor present.
What happens, then, when a case of sexual abuse takes place at the daycare center? Needless to say, the proper authorities should be called in to investigate the situation, identify the offender and pursue a prosecution. But beyond these efforts of the criminal justice system, parents also have the option to reach out to an experienced sexual abuse attorney.
Child sexual abuse is not inevitable, especially in an institutional setting such as a daycare center. Through concerted investigation, the civil attorney may learn that one of the daycare center's policies to prevent misconduct failed in this case, allowing the offender to gain unfettered access to a young victim. The examples of negligence are myriad in this case. Maybe the facility failed to perform an adequate background check of the perpetrator, missing a prior conviction. Perhaps the facility failed to monitor security camera footage, missing out on video evidence of the abuse taking place. Or another employee failed to report her suspicions to a manager, allowing the offender to victimize further children.
These would all be examples of negligence. The daycare center failed to uphold its obligation to provide adequate care to the children under its charge, allowing sexual abuse to occur due to a mistake or error.
Filing A Claim Against A Negligent Third-Party
Negligence comes in many forms. It can be a mistake, or an error, a failure to perform an action with sufficient care or a concerted attempt to conceal a sexual abuse case. In any event, when negligence lies at the core of a sexual assault or abuse case, survivors and their families gain the right to pursue financial compensation from the negligent organization.
Hundreds of thousands of organizations and establishments across the country owe their members, guests, customers, visitors and residents a duty to prevent sexual assault and sexual abuse.
Schools both public and private owe students a duty to reduce the risk of misconduct by implementing and maintaining rigorous policies against assault and abuse, as do colleges and universities. Massage spas owe their customers an obligation to prevent assault by screening potential workers prior to their hiring and responding appropriately to sexual abuse allegations when they are leveled.
In the same vein, hotels, motels and apartment buildings owe their visitors and residents an obligation to provide adequate security against criminal offenders. Doctors owe their patients a duty to provide medical care with professionalism. This list could go on forever. The upshot, however, is that all of these individuals and organizations owe their participants a basic duty to protect against sex crimes of any form. Sex crimes have devastating effects on victims which can last a lifetime. These traumatic experiences can cause a variety of physical, mental, and emotional damages. It’s important for our laws to reflect the serious and destructive nature of these crimes.
Criminal Laws In Pennsylvania
If you or someone you love has recently become the victim of a sexual crime, you may be wondering how your state's laws might influence the prosecution of your offender. We've provided summaries of Pennsylvania's sexual assault laws in the section below, but remember that these laws often change.
Share this Image On Your Site
You should also be aware that the criminal justice system mainly focuses on the prosecution of predators. These courts often do little to nothing for the victims of crimes, besides offering the comfort of taking a dangerous predator off the streets.
In order to hold complicit third parties liable (such as organizations who attempted to cover up the crime or failed to run hiring background checks) and secure financial support for the personal and financial difficulties your family is facing, it's often necessary to file a civil lawsuit.
From Philadelphia and Allentown to Harrisburg and Pittsburgh, our experienced civil attorneys help sexual assault and abuse survivors step forward and share their stories with confidence. You can find more information about how we can help in a free, confidential legal consultation today.
Laws regarding sexual abuse vary from state to state. In Pennsylvania, sex crimes are classified into ten categories:
Aggravated Indecent Assault
According to Pennsylvania Consolidated Statues Title 18, Chapter 31, Sections 3125: Aggravated indecent assault occurs when a person “engages in penetration, however slight, of the genitals or anus of a complainant with a part of the person’s body for any purpose other than good faith medical, hygienic or law enforcement procedures.”
These charges can either be first-degree or second-degree felonies, depending on the age of the victim. First-degree charges are applied to cases with victims under 13 years old and may involve:
- A victim with a mental disability
- Crimes involving drugs or intoxicants
- Unconscious victims
- Threat of forcible compulsion
- Forcible compulsion
- No consent from victim
When these forms of misconduct involve an adult victim, a second-degree felony is the most likely charge. Statutory charges may also be levied in consensual cases if the victim is under 16 years old and there is an age difference of four or more years with the perpetrator.
First-degree felony cases are punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines. Second-degree felonies carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and also up to $25,000 in fines.
Sexual relations with immediate relatives are illegal in Pennsylvania, according to incest laws. According to the state, incest occurs when a person “knowingly marries or cohabits or has sexual intercourse with an ancestor or descendant, a brother or sister of the whole or half blood or an uncle, aunt, nephew or niece of the whole blood.”
Incest is a second-degree felony.
Indecent assault involves sexual contact without consent, including contact with bodily fluids such as semen, urine, and feces. This crime can either be classified as a third-degree felony or a first or second-degree misdemeanor, depending on specific circumstances. Indecent assault charges can also be enforced as statutory charges if the victim gave consent but is under the age of 16 and the offender is at least four years older than the victim.
Institutional Sexual Assault
These cases involve institutional authority figures engaging in sexual contact with an inmate, detainee, patient, or resident. Employees in the following workplaces can be charged with institutional sexual assault:
- Prisons and correctional facilities
- Youth development centers
- Youth forestry camps
- Juvenile detention facilities
- Any licensed residential facility serving youth
- Mental health facilities
- Intellectual disability facilities
These crimes are third-degree felonies and carry a maximum sentence of 7 years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines.
Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse
IDSI charges are similar to rape, but are applied to a broader range of sexual acts. A predator may be charged with IDSI for crimes involving:
- Forcible compulsion or the threat of forcible compulsion
- Unconscious victim
- Victim has been drugged
- Victim is mentally disabled
- Statutory charges for victims under age 16 and more than 4 years younger than the offender
Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse is a first-degree felony.
Under Pennsylvania law, rape is a first-degree felony defined as sexual intercourse without consent. There are several situations in which a victim may be unable to give consent, including:
- Having a mental disability
- Being drugged without their knowledge
- Heavy intoxication or unconsciousness
- Threats of force
- The use of force
Sexual Abuse Of Children
In Pennsylvania, child sex abuse can be charged as either a third-degree or second-degree felony. The more serious second-degree charges are reserved for repeat offenders and those who have produced photos or videos of the abuse. These charges also can be applied in a statutory sense if the victim is younger than the age of consent (16 years old) and 4 or more years younger than the perpetrator.
Sexual assault occurs when a predator engages in sexual contact with a victim without the victim’s consent. Rape is a form of sexual assault, but not every sexual assault is considered rape. Rape usually involves the use of force or a threat of the use of force. Sexual assault charges may be applied to any case of unwanted sexual contact.
Sexual Exploitation Of Children
This is a second-degree felony which involves child sex trafficking. This charge may be applied against anyone who solicits child sexual abuse for another person.
Statutory Sexual Assault
In Pennsylvania, statutory sexual assault charges involve cases of consensual sexual contact between an adult and someone under the age of 16. These can either be first or second-degree felonies, depending on circumstances.
A first-degree charge will be levied if the victim is under 16 years old and the offender is 11 or more years older. All other cases of statutory sexual assault fall under second-degree felony charges.
There are exceptions if the victim and the young person are married to each other.
Sex Offender Registries
In Pennsylvania, offenders who are convicted of sexual offenses must register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives.
Options For Victims
If you or a loved one has recently been victimized in a sexual crime, we understand the pain your family is going through. Although it may be difficult, we encourage you to report the crime to the police so that the offender can be held responsible in a court of law. While criminal penalties are important for gaining closure, a guilty verdict can only do so much for victims. These crimes cause physical and mental injuries which require medical and psychiatric care. A sex abuse lawsuit can help provide the compensation victims need while they’re attempting to move on from such a traumatic event.
Civil Statute Of Limitations
Pennsylvania's strong tradition of civil common law allows sexual abuse and sexual assault survivors to file lawsuits against responsible parties. But a law known as the statute of limitations could dramatically impact your ability to file suit. The statute of limitations serves as a legal time limit, counting down the amount of time you have to pursue your lawsuit. Complying with the statute of limitations is absolutely essential. If you try to file your lawsuit after the statute of limitations has run out, your case will be dismissed from court without a second thought. As a result, it's critical to contact an experienced Pennsylvania attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your legal rights are protected.
Pennsylvania law actually sets out two different relevant civil statutes of limitation, one for the sexual assault of adult victims and a second for childhood sexual abuse.
Childhood Sexual Abuse
For cases of child sexual abuse, wherein the victim was a minor at the time of the crime, Pennsylvania's civil statute of limitations provides survivors with up to 12 years from their 18th birthday to file suit. In other words, most survivors of childhood sexual abuse have until their 30th birthday to pursue a civil lawsuit.
Note, however, that this law may change in the coming months. Thanks to the recent Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal, Pennsylvania's legislators are currently considering a new law that would dramatically extend the statute of limitations, providing survivors with even more time. The proposed legislation would also open a temporary window in which survivors would be able to file suit over cases of historical abuse that were previously barred by the statute of limitations. Needless to say, these would be momentous changes to Pennsylvania state law.
Adult Sexual Assault
For victims of sexual assault who were violated as adults, Pennsylvania's current statute of limitations is two years, beginning on the date of the assault or misconduct. Obviously, this is a very short time limit for something as major as filing a lawsuit.
Lawyer - Helping Victims Move Forward
Getting Clients The Compensation They Need
Former Clients Say Our Law Firm "Is The Best"
Focused On Supporting Sexual Assault Survivors
Our Clients Can Stay Confidential
If you or a loved one have survived a sexual assault, you may be wondering what your legal rights are. Our legal team is here to answer all of your questions and support you during this time.
What many survivors don't realize is that in addition to the criminal charges that they can bring against their assailant, they may also be able to file a civil lawsuit. This form of lawsuit is designed to provide the plaintiff with monetary compensation for the losses they have sustained.
We at Abuse Guardian understand that no amount of money can ever change the horror that you have lived through, however, it can help to pay for the care that is needed in the future, both physical and emotional. Even after all the physical damage has healed, many victims suffer from PTSD, depression, and anxiety and while therapy and medications may help, these treatments are not inexpensive.
To learn more about our law firm, how we can help you, and your legal options, contact us today.
Civil Law Attorney - Fighting Against Sexual Abuse
Law Firm Helping Pennsylvania Survivors
History Of Successful Verdicts & Settlements
Highly Recommended By Former Clients
Prepared To Aggressively Fight In Court
Our law firm believes that all sexual assault survivors, whether they be children or adults, deserve to be compensated for the terrible experience they have endured. While victims may feel a great sense of relief through pursuing criminal charges, in many cases they can also file a civil lawsuit.
Civil lawsuits are filed against negligent parties. To most plaintiffs surprise, a negligent party doesn't always mean the person or persons who caused them harm - although it can. In some cases, a third party's actions contributed to the circumstances which led to the attack. For example, if the victim was attacked in a parking garage and it is found that there was inadequate security in that garage, it may be possible to file a lawsuit against the property owners or the managers of the garage for failing to provide a safe environment.
Our team fully reviews every case to determine who is considered negligent. Then, we pursue justice on our client's behalf and if a carefully negotiated settlement isn't an option, we present the matter before a judge and jury.
Law Firm - Helping Families Recover From Trauma
Attorneys Seeking Compensation For Victims
Holding Schools, Churches, and Assailants Legally Responsible For The Harm They Have Caused
Fighting For The Best Outcome Possible In Each Case
Helping Families Get the Monetary Funds They Need To Get Their Child Care
Children come into this world trusting that the adults in their lives will take care of them and protect them. Sadly, some of the adults they come into contact with do not have their best interests at heart and hurt them in the worst ways imaginable.
Our legal team abhors all sexual assault including child abuse. We make it our mission to hold the parties whose negligence resulted in harm to a child responsible for what they have done. Through a child sex abuse lawsuit, the victim and their loved ones have the opportunity to regain compensation which will help them to pay for their medical care and emotional care. You can be sure that we will do everything in our power to make sure you and your child get what you need. Contact us now to learn more.
Resources For Pennsylvania Sexual Abuse Victims
Pennsylvania is home to a wealth of free legal resources for sexual assault and abuse survivors. Below, you'll find a selection of these resources, along with helpful information on how each organization can help. Every organization in our list provides their services free of charge.
- Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR)
- Easily connect to a local rape crisis center for personalized, 24/7 support services
- National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse (NAASCA)
- Sexual assault legal helpline: 866-577-2786
- Women's Law Project
- Telephone counseling and referral service
- Domestic violence
- Workplace sexual assault and harassment
- Women Organized Against Rape
- Rape crisis center in Philadelphia
- 24-hour hotline: 215-985-3333
- Free counseling for survivors
- Sexual Assault Court Support Group offers free counseling and advice for survivors navigating the criminal justice system
- Women In Transition
- Telephone counseling: 215-751-1111
- Free in-person counseling and advocacy
- Substance abuse and domestic violence support groups
- Self-defense training
- Joseph J. Peters Institute
- Cognitive behavioral therapy and psychiatric treatment for survivors of childhood sexual abuse, sexual assault and their loved ones.
- Pittsburgh Action Against Rape
- Rape crisis center offering counseling and legal advocacy
- Case management, trauma therapy and legal advocacy for sex trafficking survivors
- In-person advocates to meet you at the hospital for your rape examination
- Self-defense training
- Wellness groups, including dance, music and yoga programs
- Hotline: 1-866-END-RAPE (1-866-363-7273)
- Women's Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh
- Emergency shelter for domestic violence victims and their children
- 24-hour hotline: 412-687-8005 (ext. 1)
- Legal and medical advocacy
- Counseling and emotional support programs
- Victims Compensation Assistance Program
- financial compensation for immediate medical needs and other crime-related expenses
Latest Sexual Assault News
By Brian Kent
July 5th, 2019 - Former Teacher And Coach Charged With Sexual Assault
A teacher who was previously charged with the sexual assault of two students is now facing additional charges. Authorities have stated that four more students came forward after his arrest with allegations of sexual assault when they were minors. The former coach has also been charged with child pornography.
April 10th, 2019 - Women Accuse Uber Of Failing To Warn About Fake Drivers - Lawsuits Filed
Three women have joined forces and have filed lawsuits against ride sharing app Uber, alleging that the company has failed to warn women about potential fake drivers. Each of these women were raped by men who posed as an Uber driver. In their complaint, they allege that the Los Angeles police had informed Uber that fake drivers were luring women into their cars and sexually assaulting them, but the company did nothing to warn their customers about the issue.
March 4th, 2019 - Former Philadelphia Homicide Detective Charged With Rape
A man who served as a Philadelphia homicide detective for more than a decade is now behind bars. According to court records, he used his position and gun to "groom" male suspects and then sexually assault them during the course of investigations. Many of the court documents connected to the case are heavily redacted to protect the victims. The Police Commissioner has responded to the allegations, stating that "It is absolutely despicable." He also indicated that the detective was fired shortly after the allegations were brought to the attention of the police department in 2017.
February 1st, 2019 - Pentagon Reports That Sexual Assaults In US Service Academies As Doubled
According to the Pentagon, the number of sexual assaults in military schools has doubled since 2016. The information was collected through anonymous surveys at the military academies. According to the Pentagon, the increase in assaults is "a leadership issue". However, it doesn't note what steps will be taken to correct the issue and provide victims with justice.
January 9th, 2019 - Harvey Weinstein Will Go To Trial In May
Harvey Weinstein, who was formerly known as a movie mogul, has had his trial set for May 6th, 2019. He has been charged with sexually assaulting two women, including forcibly performing oral sex on one woman and raping another. If found guilty of the five charges against him, he may spend the rest of his life in prison. In total, more than 70 women have come forward, alleging that Weinstein assaulted them.
December 5th, 2018 - First Grade Teacher Arrested For Child Sexual Assault
A 30-year-old man who worked as a first-grade teacher has been arrested and charged with sexual assault of a child. The man was witnessed with his hand up a student's skirt on the playground of the school. He was reported and placed on suspension while officers investigated the incident. A video surveillance system confirmed the report and the child was interviewed. She reported that the teacher had inserted his fingers into her vagina. Police are now investigating the possibility that other students were also assaulted.
November 5th, 2018 - New Tracking System Available On Sexual Assault Kits
The Washinton State Police have implemented a new system that is meant to benefit the survivors of sexual assault. When a sexual assault survivor has a kit taken, they will be given an ID card and a login. This way, the kit can be tracked throughout the testing process and the survivor can be constantly updated. The police hope this will prevent kits from falling through the cracks and will also help keep sexual assault survivors updated throughout the legal process.
October 3rd, 2018 - Study Links Health Problems To Sexual Assault
Research which was recently published in the Journal of Internal Medicine has shown that women who have been sexually assaulted experience ongoing health problems such as high blood pressure, anxiety, and sleep disorders. In fact, the study showed that women who reported being sexually assaulted were 3 times more likely to experience depression and twice as likely to experience anxiety. Sadly, to many sexual assault survivors, this is not news.
September 11th, 2018 - Another Hand & Stone Employee Charged With Sexual Assault
A 24-year-old man has been arrested and charged with sexual assault after a client said he crossed a line during a session in August. The police have not reported exactly took place but only described the contact was "clearly sexual" in nature. This is just one of the thousands of lawsuits filed against massage therapists and the companies they work for throughout the country.
August 7th - 2018 - Catholic Church Releases Names Of Priests Accused Of Sexual Assault
The Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg has published a list of 71 names - all priests and other church personnel who have been accused of sexual assault. The reports go as far back as 1940, with the most recent being 2014. The report includes a summary of the complaints that were made against each person.
July 6th, 2018 - Former Principal Charged With Sexual Assault & Rape
A former principal in Georgia has been charged with multiple accounts of sexual assault, sexual battery, and rape in three different counties. Authorities believe that he assaulted three students and that there are likely other victims that they have not yet learned about. The man was also previously under investigation for attempting to access child pornography.
June 12th, 2018 - 90 Victims Seek Compensation From Buffalo Diocese For Abuse
In March, the Buffalo Diocese announced that they were creating a new fund to help compensate the victims of abuse by priests. Applications had to be submitted by June 1st, 2018 and a total of 90 were submitted. Prior to this announcement, many of the survivors believed that they were alone but are now learning that they are not. The Diocese has not announced how much money will be issued in compensation.
May 14th, 2018 - Rider Sues Lyft After Alleged Rape
A woman who has chosen to remain anonymous has filed a lawsuit against Lyft. She alleges that in 2015, her boyfriend called a driver to pick her up and take her to her hotel. Once at the hotel, he followed her up to her room where she claims that he raped her.
April 25th, 2018 - Philadelphia Jury Begins Deliberations In Cosby Retrial
On Tuesday April 24th, 10 jurors heard the closing arguments from the latest trial involving Bill Cosby. This case was already tried once, however, the previous jury was deadlocked and unable to reach a decision so the judge declared a mistrial, causing prosecutors to try Cosby again for three counts of sexual assault against Andrea Constand. On Wednesday, April 25th, the new jury began their deliberations.
March 26th 2018 - Sexual Assault Kit Testing Initiative Undertaken In Ohio
Around 14,000 sexual assault kits have been analyzed since a testing initiative was undertaken. The tests were completed last month and the results will be compared to criminal databases throughout the state and country. Some of the kits were taken as long as 25 years ago, and have sat untested.
February 14th, 2018 - PA Senator Asked To Resign Over Sexual Assault Allegations
Governor Tom Wolf asked Senator Daylin Leach to step down after eight women and three men alleged that the Senator engaged in inappropriate sexual contact and sexual conversations with female employees in his office. Leach has responded by apologizing for any "actions or humor people found offensive."
December 4th, 2017 - Philadelphia Teacher Arrested For Sexual Assault
A 50-year-old teacher at the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts has been arrested for institutional sexual assault and endangering the welfare of children after a student reported being sexually assaulted when he was just 17-years-old. The teen provided police with evidence on his cell phone including text messages and pictures. For more information on this check out The Inquirer