PA State Law
The links provided below are given as a guide to begin to understand state law in Pennsylvania concerning child sexual abuse. The information given is not intended to be legal advice.
This page was last updated October 2018. State laws regarding abuse are always changing.
The reader should always consult law enforcement, an attorney, or the district attorney's office for current law.
AGE OF CONSENT
The age of consent is the legally defined age at which a person is deemed legally competent to consent to sexual activity.
ACT 168 (2014) - "PASS THE TRASH"
This act requires schools, public and private, to complete more extensive background checks before hiring any individual to a position that involves direct contact with children. This history should include any allegations against the individual whether they were founded or unfounded. (info below is from www.psbo.org)
ACT 126 (2013) - MANDATED REPORTER TRAINING
Act 126 ("Child Abuse Recognition and Reporting Training") mandates that all school entities and independent contractors of school entities provide their employees who have direct contact with children with a minimum of three hours of training every five years on child abuse and sexual misconduct recognition and reporting.
MANDATED REPORTERS (2014)
In 2014, Pennsylvania substantially increased the requirements for who is a mandated reporter in the Commonwealth and now includes volunteers (an individual paid or unpaid; who, on the basis of the individual’s role as an integral part of a regularly scheduled program, activity or service, accepts responsibility for a child) and professionals.
ACT 24 (1995) - MEGAN'S LAW
This is the Commonwealth's sex offender tracking and data base system. The public can access the information to alert them to offenders living near them.
SEXUAL ASSAULT LAWS
This is a good summary, produced by PCAR (Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape), of the definitions of the various legal offenses that can be committed under the umbrella of sexual assault. It includes child sexual assault and sexual exploitation.
CRIMINAL STATUTES OF LIMITATIONS
Current sexual crimes against minors can be prosecuted up to the time the victim turns 50 years of age. Because there are so many factors in determining whether a crime can be prosecuted, we advise that you check with the district attorney's office for more information.
CIVIL STATUTES OF LIMITATIONS
Currently, victims who were over the age of 18 at the time of the abuse have two years to file civil cases. Victims who were under the age of 18 when the abuse occurred have 12 years after their 18th birthday to file civil charges.