In 1955, Dr. Joseph Peters, a psychiatrist working at Philadelphia General Hospital, was approached by state probation and parole officers to provide services to men who had been committed for sexual crimes and were ready to be released from prison. Dr. Peters assembled a small group of psychiatrists, reviewed the literature of current treatments and began to offer therapy to these parolees. As the program grew, services were expanded to include treatment for victims of sexual abuse as well. The program became known as the Comprehensive Center for Rape.
Following Dr. Peters' death in 1977, the program was re-named the Joseph J. Peters Institute. At its South Broad Street location in Center City Philadelphia, the program expanded again, this time to begin serving children, as well as adults.
The team grew to include psychologists, social workers and other mental health counselors. Throughout the late 1970s and the 1980s, the Institute became known for its expanded service delivery, national research grants, the development of specialized instruments for assessing individuals with sexual behavior problems, and individualized programs developed for child and adult survivors of sexual abuse, as well as adult and juvenile sexual offenders.
In 2002, the Institute moved to 100 S. Broad Street. Shortly thereafter a new location was developed for the Adult Offender Services, as well as a new two new partial hospitalization programs serving individuals with sexual behavior problems and mental health or developmental disabilities. These programs were developed to serve adults and adolescents in separate programs. In 2012, all Survivor Services were brought together at 100 S. Broad Street, and all services for Offender Services were centralized to 1211 Chestnut Street.
In 2013, we expanded our mission to serve those suffering from a wider variety of traumatic experiences as well as providing treatment to those who harm others through sexual and interpersonal violence.