Rehab Sexual Abuse

Sexual predators often look for ways to put themselves in trusted positions where they can access the most vulnerable of society, and it is no different with rehab sexual abuse. This disturbing reality plays itself out in child sexual assault, massage sexual assault, or even in medical care.

A curly haired woman in a black sweater hugs herself as she looks out the window. Rehab sexual abuse is a common occurrence.

As one of the nation’s leading sexual assault law firms, The Pride Law Firm receives sexual abuse reports in rehabilitation centers regularly. We understand that many who suffer this abuse aren’t sure where to turn. If you or a loved one has endured sexual abuse at the hands of a drug, alcohol, or another behavioral rehab facility, this page will help you understand your options moving forward.

If you don’t find what you’re looking for on this page, call us at ​619-516-8166. Please know that we see you, we hear you, and we believe you.

What do I do if I was sexually assaulted while in rehab?

The sensitive moments directly following an assault can be both overwhelming and critical. It may be difficult to think clearly and make decisions in spite of how you are feeling. To ensure your best interests are protected, please follow the steps below:

  1. Confide in a trusted friend about what happened. This person may also serve as a witness later on.
  2. Preserve all physical evidence as best as much as possible. It is absolutely important that you try to leave physical evidence undisturbed after an assault. We understand this can be difficult, but please try to avoid washing yourself, your clothing, or any other article that could provide DNA samples. Also:
  1. Avoid using the restroom
  2. Avoid drinking any liquids if you can help it
  3. Get a forensic exam done at a hospital as soon as possible. This is also known as a rape kit. A rape kit seals potentially powerful evidence in the crucial time directly following an assault and can serve to strengthen your testimony. Bring a change of clothing and a trusted friend with you if you can, simply for support.
  4. Report the assault to the police. You can use the non-emergency phone line to do this. A police report documents important details surrounding the event and will be referenced if you decide to file a lawsuit.
  5. Contact an experienced sexual assault attorney. The right attorney will have experience handling sexual assault cases. He or she will go above and beyond to provide more than legal help; they will help you process the experience, connect you with healing resources, and become a trusted confidant. Speaking to a lawyer is 100% confidential and free.
A closeup shot of clasped hands comforting each other.

Where do I report rehab sexual abuse in CA?

Start with the police and local authorities. Unfortunately, drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers are not monitored by the government, so there isn’t a standard reporting agency or process in place yet. You may also begin by calling a sexual assault lawyer. After you have contacted either the police or an attorney, you might also consider filing a formal complaint at the facility where the event took place.

What constitutes sexual abuse or assault in a rehab facility?

We receive this question more often than not. Sexual assault is a broad term used to describe any non-consensual sexual or physical contact wherein a person is forced to participate or engage against their will.

The assault will typically fall under one of three categories:

  • Penetration
  • Contact with intimate body parts
  • Exposure of intimate body parts

No matter what environment they occur in, the following set of standards can be used to determine whether an act is considered sexual assault:

  • You did not explicitly consent to it
  • You were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time
  • You were intoxicated or drugged against your will at the time

Clients can be mistreated and exploited by either a staff member or another client of the program. In either case, the perpetrator as well as the treatment center or program can be held liable for the resulting injuries.

Who is responsible for sexual assault in a behavioral rehab center?

In short, both the person who committed the assault as well as the facility where it took place can be held responsible. Treatment centers are entrusted with caring for those who are dependent upon them for help with basic needs. As an organization, they agree to uphold a reasonable standard of care for those in their facilities.

This is why when a client is sexually assaulted in rehab, the program can be held liable for damages. Their failure to prevent the attack can often be traced back to a number of missed opportunities, such as failing to:

  • Properly screen staff for previous records of sexual assault
  • Recognize the signs of abuse
  • Take reports of abuse seriously and act up
  • Sufficiently train staff on sexual abuse
  • Monitor interactions between residents or clients

A sexual assault lawyer will be able to swiftly uncover an organization or program’s negligence and hold them accountable for failing to do all in their power to prevent the attack.

What is the difference between filing criminal and civil charges against a sexual predator?

An infographic shows the basic differences between filing a criminal and civil lawsuit against a perpetrator for sexual assault.

There are foreseeable benefits to both criminal and civil lawsuits against perpetrators for sexual assault.


In a criminal case, the state files suit against the criminal. In order for a criminal case to succeed, the prosecution must prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the perpetrator committed the crime. The evidence to support the survivor’s side of the story must be convincing beyond question.

If the criminal is found guilty, he or she is punished for their crimes, typically with jail time. Because the case is represented by the government, the survivor plays a lesser role in the proceedings, though their testimony may influence the degree of sentencing.

The benefit: Survivors can gain a sense of closure from knowing their assailant is behind bars, protecting other potential survivors from suffering the same crimes.


In a civil case, the assaulted person files suit against the perpetrator and other parties who may be directly or indirectly liable for injuries. Unlike a criminal case, the burden of proof must simply show that it is “more likely than not” the alleged events took place. The evidence must support the claims enough for it to be convincing to a jury or judge. This makes civil cases easier to prove.

If the defending party is found liable, they are ordered to financially compensate the sexual assault survivor for all losses and injuries resulting from the abuse. This can include:

  • Medical bills
  • Emotional pain and suffering
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Counseling or therapy services
  • Physical injuries

The benefit: Survivors can receive financial support to meet practical needs and offset the costs often incurred by enduring abuse. The facility or organization may also face other penalties, such as losing their license to operate or paying punitive damages.

All sexual assault is criminal, though not all sexual assault cases are tried in criminal courts. A lawyer will explain each process to you, as well as provide you with the guidance and professional insight you need to make the best decision for yourself.

How can I receive help with medical bills and counseling for sexual assault?

Ideally, compensation from a civil lawsuit will provide you with the financial support necessary to accommodate your healing and recovery. Putting a sexual predator behind bars through a criminal case can provide a sense of relief. Unfortunately, however, it stops short of providing survivors of the practical means they need to make a strong recovery. Civil cases can help with this.

Learn more about how you can receive compensation for injuries arising from rehab sexual assault by contacting The Pride Law Firm today at ​619-516-8166. Your phone call is private, complimentary, and without obligation to file a lawsuit.

I’m afraid to report my assault.

First and foremost, please be assured that it is okay to feel scared or unsure about reporting your abuser. Many people we speak to explain that they’ve never filed a lawsuit and don’t know what to expect. This is normal.

One of the challenges with reporting sexual assault in rehab centers is that systemic abuse thrives on the vulnerability and silence of its survivors. There is, at times, an immense sense of shame that plagues those dealing with addiction or other behavioral challenges. Being sexually assaulted multiplies that shame and can make them feel unworthy of help.

You are worthy of being cared for and protected, no matter your struggles!

Secondly, reporting an abuser can encourage other survivors to come forward. This can lead to greater penalties for the perpetrator as well as more survivors receiving the justice and compensation they deserve.

Your story has power, and you are not alone.

A young girl with burgundy hair hugging her knees looks at the camera. There is hope after rehab sexual assault.

Lawyers for Rehab Sexual Assault

At The Pride Law Firm, we are painfully aware of the stigma that many of those in rehabilitation centers face. On top of battling addiction and being in an incredibly vulnerable state, they are retraumatized by the very people meant to care for them.

No matter who you may feel is against you, we are for you. If you have been sexually assaulted while under treatment at a drug, alcohol, or another intervention program, please contact us for a confidential case review today at 619-516-8166.

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“I just received the self-care package from your team, when I opened the box and read the letter from you all, it felt like a hug came right out of the box. Thank you so much, it meant so much to me.”

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– Client of Jessica Pride –

“I just received the self-care package from your team, when I opened the box and read the letter from you all, it felt like a hug came right out of the box. Thank you so much, it meant so much to me.”

– Client of Jessica Pride –

“I am also hopeful and beyond grateful that my voice is being heard! So I want to say thank you Jessica and Christy, for giving me a voice when I felt mine didn’t matter. You guys are truly angels fighting a great cause. I am forever grateful! Thank you so much!”

– Client of Jessica Pride –