Illustrations by Richard Watkins / AJC

If you have been sexually abused by your doctor, here's what you should know

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s investigation of physician sexual misconduct found that one patient’s report of abuse often leads others to come forward with similar allegations. Here are several options for patients who suspect their doctors of sexual improprieties:

Police: Call your local police or sheriff’s department to report a sexual or physical assault.

State medical board: These agencies may revoke a doctor’s license or take other disciplinary action. Boards in some states won’t accept anonymous reports or don’t take complaints online. On the AJC’s Find Your State page, you can find information on where to file complaints.

Hospital or clinic affiliated with the doctor: Hospitals may have a formal process to investigate complaints of misconduct at their facilities. Patients may also report doctors to their medical group practice or clinic, many of whom have a human resources administrator or medical director.

Advocacy organizations: Groups such as SNAP, a network of survivors of institutional sexual abuse, offer advocacy and support for victims. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) helps patients report sexual abuse to authorities and take legal action. is an online resource for sex abuse victims seeking legal help, counseling or networking with other victims.

Rape crisis centers: The National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-4673) directs victims to law enforcement or to health facilities for exams.