What Happens if I Am Sexually Abused in Another State?

Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts

People who have been sexually abused in another state may feel like there aren’t any options. Dealing with filing a police report or a civil suit may feel overwhelming for survivors, especially if they have to do so outside of their home state. Luckily, there are options for survivors abused in another state.

If you are sexually abused out of state, you can press criminal charges or file a civil suit against the offender. Whatever action you and your attorney decide to take, the charges or lawsuit will have to be filed in the state where the abuse happened. For example, if you were abused in California but live in Pennsylvania, you’d have to report or file a suit in California. That being said, you may not have to travel back to pursue the charges or lawsuit.

The sexual abuse attorneys at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin can help you understand your options as a survivor of sexual abuse outside of your home state. To get a free, confidential consultation with our compassionate attorneys, call (814) 826-3586 today. We can discuss your options and figure out how to best help.

Filing Civil Suits in Another State for Sexual Assault and Abuse

Suing an offender for sexual abuse is a course of action for survivors. Again, if the event happened in another state, you must file there regardless of where you live. You and your attorney may be able to argue that the lawsuit should take place in your state of residence if the offender does business in, owns property in, or regularly frequents your state. Otherwise, the lawsuit must be filed in the state of the offense, regardless of whether either party lives there.

When deciding to sue for sexual abuse in another state, it’s important to know that state’s statute of limitations. Each state has different laws regarding the amount of time you have to sue an offender following sexual abuse. Because you’ll most likely have to file in the state the abuse happened in, you’ll need to abide by that state’s statute of limitations. Some states allow survivors many years to file a civil suit, others don’t. If you want to file a sexual abuse lawsuit, and it will take place in another state, make sure you are doing so within the statute of limitations.

If you sue for sexual abuse in another state, you may not have to travel back. You might be able to call in virtually or over the phone when your attorney needs you throughout the process. Your attorney may also be able to appear in court on your behalf or represent you in settlement negotiations, allowing you to stay home. Luckily, you probably will not be expected to be physically present.

When suing, make sure your attorney is licensed to practice law in that state. Otherwise, you’ll have to find another attorney who can practice law in the state where the abuse took place. Our attorneys may also be able to work with local attorneys to appear “pro hac vice” in your case.

Who Can You Sue in an Out-of-State Sexual Abuse Case?

The location of the lawsuit filed does not affect who you can sue. If you were sexually abused while at college in another state, you may still be able to file a lawsuit. Being out of state does not bar you from taking legal action against offenders, regardless of who they are. Powerful institutions can be held responsible if liable for abuse. Organizations like universities, churches, and businesses can be all be sued for sexual abuse. Most states have laws that prevent institutions charged with the safety of children, like churches and schools, from evading blame in sexual abuse cases. Additionally, Title IX bars sex-based discrimination in schools, which includes sexual abuse on a college campus. If you were abused while out of state at college, you may be able to sue your university for negligence alongside the individual offender.

If you were abused as a child and now live in a different state, you may still be able to sue. Most states have a longer statute of limitations for minor victims of sexual abuse that carry well into adulthood. In cases where institutions are liable for abuse, they could be sued alongside an individual defendant. Speak with an attorney to evaluate your options.

If you are considering suing an institution responsible for the abuse you experienced, as well as the individual offender, The Law Office of Andrew Shubin may be able to help. Our sexual abuse attorneys can help you understand who could be held responsible for the abuse you experienced in a civil lawsuit.

How To File a Police Report if You Are Sexually Abused in Another State

If you are sexually abused in another state, you can still press charges against the offender. It is already difficult for survivors to report their abuse to the police, but it can feel almost impossible if the criminal jurisdiction is outside your home state. Most crimes have to be reported in the jurisdiction where they happened, so make sure you’re contacting the right station to file. Fortunately, there are several ways you can report sexual abuse to the police.

Reporting In-Person

If you feel comfortable and can do so, reporting the crime to the police in person is an option. Reporting in person allows you to discuss your abuse with the police and give them all the useful information you have. You can immediately get a copy of the police report and be sure the police know about the crime.

Reporting in person may be difficult for emotional and logistical reasons if you live in another state. You still have options if you don’t report in person while still in the correct state or cannot travel back.

Reporting Over the Phone

Should you be out of state when you feel ready to report the crime against you, you can call the police station. Just search the non-emergency phone number of the station within the criminal jurisdiction and ask to file a police report. The same information will be asked of you as if you were there in person, so be prepared to talk about your experience. Offer as much detail as possible and ask to be sent a copy of the report once it’s filed.

Reporting over the phone may be easier for some survivors of sexual abuse, but even that may be too difficult. If it is, there may be other ways you can report a crime to the police.

Reporting Online

Some police stations offer online reporting for victims of crimes. Check to see if the station in the proper criminal jurisdiction offers an online police report portal. If they do, follow the steps to report the crime against you. You’ll most likely be offered a copy of the digital report and hear from a law enforcement officer regarding your report shortly after it’s filed.

If the police station in the jurisdiction where the crime happened offers online reporting, it may be a great option for survivors of sexual abuse. Reporting online may be the best route if you’re uncomfortable going in person or speaking over the phone. Be prepared not to have the option of online reporting because not every police station guarantees it. Some stations may prefer you to come in person or speak over the phone.

If an offender flees the state after a police report is filed, they will be taken back to the criminal jurisdiction under extradition laws and arrested. If the offender is criminally charged with sexual abuse, you may not have to travel back to the state of the offense. The prosecutor will be responsible for building a case, not you. You may be asked to testify, but it is your choice whether to do so.

If You Were Sexually Abused in Another State, Our Attorneys Can Help

Survivors of sexual abuse may be unaware of the routes they have when seeking justice. Call The Law Office of Andrew Shubin today for a free consultation with our sexual abuse victim lawyers to discuss your options at (814) 826-3586.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.