Rights of Sexual Abuse Victims in Pennsylvania


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The Pennsylvania civil justice system is designed to give victims of crime a voice, a chance to be heard and a chance to obtain justice for the terrible acts committed upon them by the abuser. In a criminal case, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania holds the defendant abuser accountable for violation of the criminal code. In a civil case, the victim holds the abuser accountable for committing acts against the victim. One thing many victims of crime and sexual abuse do not know is that under Pennsylvania law, sexual abuse victims can seek justice against not only the abuser for the acts of abuse, but also any other person or business which committed negligence that contributed to the assault(s).

Tort Claims Against Other Parties in a Pennsylvania Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

Common examples of other businesses which may be held liable in a civil sexual abuse case in Pennsylvania include:

  • bars,
  • restaurants,
  • apartment complexes,
  • apartment buildings,
  • sporting events,
  • private events,
  • concerts, and
  • festivals.

Liability against such entities is premised on a duty of care a business owes to its customers, or in the case of a landlord, to its tenants. If the business fails to provide reasonable security for its customers or otherwise commits negligence which leads to an attack, it may be liable under Pennsylvania law.

The Statute of Limitations for Pennsylvania Sexual Abuse Claims

The statute of limitations for adult victims of sexual abuse is two years from the date of the act. For victims of child sexual abuse, the statute of limitations in Pennsylvania expires on the victim’s 30th birthday. In analyzing a statute of limitations question, the dates of the abuse are very important. In addition, the statute may be tolled in certain cases. For example, where an abuser threatened violence against the victim for reporting the abuse, the statute may be able to be tolled.

More from our Pennsylvania Sex Abuse Victims Legal Rights Law Library:

Sexual Abuse Victims Lawyer & Advocate

LBK handles sexual abuse cases in the Northeast area with offices in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. Attorneys at the firm are licensed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Firm partner, Guy D’Andrea, is a former sex crimes unit prosecutor who now fights for victims’ rights to obtain justice in civil cases. The firm has the resources and experience to handle sex abuse cases in all states and welcomes calls from local counsel about potential cases. Click To Call

**This website does not provide legal advice. Every case is unique and it is crucial to get a qualified, expert legal opinion prior to making any decisions about your case. See the full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.

Published: September 24, 2012