Sexual Assault in Rehab Centers

Woman sitting on a couch and pondering.
Rehab sexual assault is a serious issue. Contact a lawyer if you or a loved one were affected.
Sexual assault in alcohol and drug rehabilitation facilities is a prevalent issue and continues to grow. Read on to learn about this form of abuse and what your legal rights are if you’ve been affected.

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 is similar to instances involving child sexual assault, massage sexual assault, or even in medical care.

As one of the nation’s leading sexual assault law firms, The Pride Law Firm receives sexual abuse reports from 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 other type of behavioral rehab facility, this page will help you understand your options moving forward.

If you need additional information or have specific questions, contact us online or call us at (619) 516-8166. Please know that we see you, we hear you, and we believe you.

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.

Rehab sexual assault occurs when a person who is enrolled at a rehab facility or program experiences assault during the program or on the premises. This type of assault carries with it special elements and factors due to the nature of rehabilitation programs.

At a rehab facility, 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.

How Can I Receive Help with Medical Bills and Counseling for Rehab Abuse?

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, criminal proceedings stop short of providing survivors with the practical means they need to make a strong recovery. Civil cases can help with this.

A damages or settlement award from a rehab sexual assault lawsuit can provide financial assistance for: 

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages or loss of earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Counseling or therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Costs associated with physical injuries

The amount of financial assistance available from a rehab sexual assault lawsuit can depend on many factors, including the extent of damages as well as the skill and experience of the lawyer handling the case. That’s why it’s important to select the right lawyer to represent you for your claim.

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.

Why Is Rehab Sexual Assault So Common?

Rehab sexual assault is a growing problem for several reasons: 

  • State of vulnerability: Rehabilitation participants may be in a difficult state and dealing with addiction, withdrawal, and other challenges. This is perhaps one of the most difficult periods of their lives, and counselors and other staff may seek to take advantage of participants. 
  • Lax hiring rules: Reports show that in the state of California, lax background check rules make it possible for registered sex offenders and other serious felons to serve as rehabilitation counselors. Those who are fired for misconduct may simply transfer to another private rehab facility, where they may then be hired despite their background.
  • Fear of reporting: Many sexual assault victims are hesitant to file a report about what happened to them. This can stem from feelings of fear, embarrassment, and confusion. As a result, the cycle of abuse may be allowed to continue in the rehab facility. 

Pursuing legal action is one way to disrupt the cycle of sexual assault existing in recovery institutions. Not only will a lawsuit compensate the survivor for their losses, but it helps shed light on the overall problem and exposes other instances of abuse.

What Do I Do If I Experienced Sexual Assault in Drug 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 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:
  3. Avoid using the restroom
  4. Avoid drinking any liquids if you can help it
  5. Get a forensic exam done at a hospital as soon as possible. This is also known as a rape kit. A rape kit preserves 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

Where Do I Report Rehab Sexual Abuse in California?

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.

Who Is Responsible for Sexual Abuse in Drug Rehab Centers?

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

Sexual assault in rehab centers can be perpetrated not only by the staff or workers at the center, but also by other residents or participants in the program. In such cases, the organization might be held liable if they know about the abusive conditions between residents and fail to take steps to prevent or remedy the situation. 

These types of abuses are similar to those occurring in other facilities like nursing homes, and mental health or psychiatric facilities

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.

I’m Afraid to Report My Assault. What Can I Do?

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. Pursuing legal action can help shed light on other sexual abuse instances at rehab centers. It can also lead to improved regulation of such facilities and the way they run their operations. 

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.

Persons seeking rehabilitation are already facing a difficult situation; experiencing sexual assault in the midst of that process can be traumatizing. Our team is specifically trained to provide the type of support and care needed during such trying times. 

Why Choose Jessica Pride

We provide sexual assault survivors with the confidential, compassionate services and atmosphere they need to move forward and heal. Jessica Pride has over two decades of experience representing survivors. Our team has helped hundreds of people regain their peace and confidence and obtain the justice they deserve under the law.

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.

Early Commuication for Parents

Rehab Sexual Assault FAQs

Check icon

How can a sexual assault lawyer help me?

Cases involving sexual assault at a rehab facility can involve many complex legal issues and court requirements. A lawyer can help with various legal tasks and services, such as:

  • Investigating what happened at the rehab facility
  • Reviewing the relevant rehab sexual assault laws
  • Gathering evidence such as documents, records, and witness statements
  • Formulating a strong presentation strategy for trial
  • Arguing for the maximum compensation amount

Above all, a sexual assault attorney can provide you with much needed guidance and advice during the legal process. At Pride Law Firm, we are specially committed to doing so in the most supportive, caring, and empathetic manner possible.

Check icon

What questions should I ask my attorney?

When meeting with your lawyer for a consultation, it helps to prepare a list of questions related to your case. These can include: 

  • Who is responsible for what happened to me?
  • What does the timeframe for my case look like?
  • What involvement is expected of me?
  • What are my legal rights and options? 
  • Can you explain your background and qualifications to me? 

We understand that you might be going through a challenging time, and it may not always be possible to prepare such questions. At the Pride Law Firm, you can rest assured that our team is here to assist you with any concerns or inquiries you may have.

Check icon

Do I need to prepare any documents?

If you’ve been affected by sexual abuse or assault in a rehab facility, you may need to consult with a lawyer regarding your rights. Prior to the consultation, it can help to gather and prepare any documentation you may have about the incident, including:

  • Police reports
  • Information or files from the rehab facility
  • Medical records
  • Witness statements
  • Photos or video related to the incident 

We understand that you might not be able to prepare all of these in advance. Don’t worry - it’s our job as attorneys to ensure that all your case materials and documents are prepared before we proceed.

Check icon

When should I contact a lawyer?

You should contact a lawyer as soon as you believe you have a legal issue involving rehab assault, and as soon as you are in a safe place and able to do so. Contacting a lawyer as soon as possible can help ensure that you don’t make any statements or communications with other parties that could be held against you. 

Also, there are strict filing deadlines and requirements associated with sexual assault cases. You should get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible, as missing these deadlines could affect your ability to collect damages. Contact Jessica Pride at (619) 516-8166 if you need legal representation for any type of rehab sexual assault issue.

“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 –

“Jessica has been the epitome of the word excellent. She is always easy to talk to and very approachable. Always directly available. Very truthful and efficient. I highly recommend her and her team!!”

– Client of Jessica Pride –

“Your compassion, humility, and fierce advocacy, are the qualities that make you the incredible rockstar attorney that you are. We’re with you in this fight!”

– Lauren Betters (Gender Equality Law Center, NYC) –

“I’m graduating with a finance degree. I just wanted to say thank you for fighting for me. Turns out, I was able to put the pieces together.”

– 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 –