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Sexual Assault and Abuse

Sexual Assault and Abuse


The key element in any sex offense is the lack of consent to the sexual activity.  The lack of consent may be due to force, physical helplessness (which could include being drunk or drugged) or mental incapacitation.


West Virginia law outlines two main categories of sex offenses:

  • Sexual Abuse occurs when a person subjects another person to sexual contact without their consent by using physical force, threat or intimidation.

  • Sexual Assault is vaginal, anal, or oral penetration of a person’s body by an object or any part of another person’s body.

    • Sexual assault can include:

      • ​​Rape

      • Forcible sodomy

      • Forcible object penetration

      • Incest (sexual contact between family members)

West Virginia law also addresses age limitations to consent to sexual intercourse.

If You Have Been Sexually Assaulted:


  • Go to a safe place.  If you are in danger, call 911

  • Call SAHC’s 24 Hour Hotline, 304-234-8591, or toll free 1-800-884-7242, and an advocate can provide support, information and referrals.

  • Seek immediate attention for health concerns or injuries.  Not all injuries may be visible.  Hospitals can provide emergency contraception and information and treatment for sexually transmitted infections.

  • Request a forensic medical examination to assess medical issues and/or collect potential evidence within 96 hours of the assault.

  • Preserve evidence.  If the assault was recent, do not change clothing, shower, urinate, brush hair or teeth, or touch anything where the assault occurred.

  • Consider reporting the assault to the police.  You can have a forensic medical exam even if you do not report (if you are 18 or older).

  • Seek counseling and ongoing support.  Plan for your ongoing safety.


SAHC can help you whether you were assaulted recently or some time in the past.


Know that by surviving you did everything right and the assault was not your fault.

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