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Legal

In Pennsylvania, there are time limits for reporting a sexual assault.

If you were:

  • 18 years old or older when you were assaulted, you have 12 years from when the assault happened to make a report.
  • Younger than 18 years old when you were assaulted, and your birthday is on or before August 27, 2002, you can make a report until your 30th birthday.
  • Younger than 18 years old when you were assaulted, and your birthday is after August 27, 2002, you can make a report until your 50th birthday.
     

If you decide to file a police report:

After you make a police report, the county prosecutor or district attorney’s office will decide if criminal charges should be filed against the offender. If charges are filed, the case will begin to move through the legal process.

In order to make this decision, the prosecutor or district attorney must consider a few things:

  • Is there is enough evidence to prove that a crime happened?
  • Which charges, if any, can be filed?
  • Can guilt be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt” in court?
     

Legal Advocates

The legal system can be frightening, frustrating, and confusing. You may feel anxious when dealing with police officers and lawyers, and nervous about going to court. In addition, the court process can take a long time. You might have a lot of questions or feel hesitant to move forward. Your local rape crisis center can provide a legal advocate to help you through the legal process.

A legal advocate can help you by answering your questions and offering support by:

  • Serving as a link between you and the legal system
  • Providing you with information to help you make decisions
  • Telling you about your rights
  • Preparing you for the legal experience
  • Referring you to helpful community resources

Related:

Statute of Limitations in Civil Cases

Sexual Violence Protection Orders