Victims of Domestic, Sexual and Child Abuse
If you or a child in your care are a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or child abuse committed by an adult, your case will be assigned to the Family Violence Sexual Assault Unit (FVSA). This unit staffs experienced prosecutors, paralegals, victim advocates, and detectives. If you are a victim of a juvenile offender, please refer to the Victims of Juvenile Offenders and Juvenile Victims of Adult Offenders section.
A case is considered domestic violence when the victim and offender are related through blood or marriage, or are associated by current or former partnership. “Domestic violence” is not a specific type of crime; any crime may be considered domestic violence if it occurs between people who are associated in one of these ways.
Sexual assault is any inappropriate sexual contact between a victim and offender whether there is a prior relationship or not. This may include incidents involving spouses, intimate partners, children, and strangers.
Child abuse is physical or sexual abuse against a child committed by an adult or another child.
If you need information about a current or disposed domestic violence, sexual assault, or child abuse case handled by the FVSA Unit, please call the Family Violence and Sexual Assault Unit at (215) 686-8096 or e-mail DA.Victimservices@phila.gov.
Victims of Elder Abuse
Elder abuse is the abuse or exploitation of a person aged 60 or older by family members or caregivers, including:
- Physical abuse - hitting, pushing, biting, kicking
- Emotional abuse - harassment, threats, intimidation
- Financial exploitation - theft of monthly checks, abuse of power of attorney
- Sexual abuse - any sexual contact without consent
- Neglect - deprived of food, clothing, shelter, or medical care
In addition to family members and caregivers, others can perpetrate elder abuse in the following ways:
Violent crimes - home invasions, robbery, assault, carjacking
Frauds and scams - home repair scams, telemarketing scams, door to door sales, free prize offers, and real estate scams
The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office has a designated Victim/Witness Coordinator who specializes in serving victims of crime who are 60 years of age or older.
The Elder Victim/Witness Coordinator provides supportive services to elder victims as their cases move through the criminal justice system including:
- Explanation of court and police procedures
- Communication with the District Attorney's Office
- Accompaniment to court
- Assistance filing for victims’ compensation
- Assistance coordinating transportation to and from court
- Referrals to appropriate resources
Elder Abuse FAQ
What is Elder Abuse?
Elder abuse is the abuse or exploitation of a person age 60 or older by family members or caregivers, which may include physical, emotional, or sexual abuse and/or financial exploitation. In addition to family members and caregivers, others can perpetuate elder abuse by violence, fraud, and scams.
Who do I call if I think I am a victim of Elder Abuse?
If you believe you are a crime victim, please call 911. The Philadelphia Police Department will investigate, prepare a report and, where appropriate, arrest the perpetrator.
Is there a fee for the services provided by the Victim/Witness Services Unit?
No. All assistance is provided free of charge.
Identity Theft - where someone assumes the identity of another, usually to obtain goods or services under the victim's identity - is the fastest growing crime in America.
The Federal Trade Commission is a clearing house for complaints of Identity Theft. Call (877) IDTHEFT or visit the FTC web site at http://www.ftc.gov.
If your social security number is being fraudulently used, report it to the Social Security Hotline at 1-800-269-0271. To order your Social Security earnings and benefits statement to check for fraud, call 1-800-772-1213. Visit the Social Security website for additional information at www.socialsecurity.gov.
For more information refer to Victims of Identity Theft in our Victim Assistance section.
REAL ESTATE FRAUD
Real estate fraud is a growing problem in the City of Philadelphia. There are many types of property fraud and it has come to the attention of the District Attorney's Office that the recording of forged of deeds is an increasing problem. The City of Philadelphia Records Department has a Document Notice Program that attempts to combat fraud by informing property owners of real estate transactions that are registered with the City. By notifying property owners, the City is giving owners opportunities to take corrective action after their property has been transferred fraudulently.
The Records Department will notify current property owners each time a deed or mortgage is recorded by mailing them a letter giving details of the transaction. This notification gives property owners the ability to verify transactions and provides notice of possible fraud involving their property. Under Pennsylvania law, the Records Department is mandated to record all deed and mortgage documents if they are filled out completely, even if the information later proves false. This means that fraudulent documents that are completed correctly are recorded and may go undetected until a legal transaction against the deed or mortgage is initiated.
The District Attorney's Office does not handle the investigation of all of these cases. If you feel that you are the victim of a forged deed you should:
Contact the Police
The Major Crimes Economic Crime Division of the Police Department at (215) 686-3396 or call 911 to file a report with your local police district.
Contact a civil Attorney
To restore title to your property, a Motion to Quiet Title will have to be filed in the Court of Common Pleas. Regardless of whether or not the perpetrator is prosecuted, this Motion has to be filed and cannot be filed by the District Attorney's Office.
The Philadelphia Bar Association's "LRIS" (Lawyer Referral and Information Service (215) 238-6333) maintains a list of "for fee attorneys" who will work on cases such as this and they are real estate attorneys.
Report it to the Economic and Cyber Crime Unit (ECCU) (215) 686-9902
Even though ECCU does not handle individual forged deed complaints, it is important that we obtain your information. This will ensure that if an investigation is being conducted, you can be contacted by the appropriate parties.
You may want to gather any and all paperwork that will be important in civil or criminal litigation. This paperwork includes but is not limited to: Deeds (previous and current), Wills, Letters of Administration, and Mortgage documentation.