Restoring hope with dignity

Our History

jjp headshotIn 1955, Dr. Joseph Peters, a psychiatrist working at Philadelphia General Hospital, was asked by state probation and parole officers whether he would provide treatment to men who had been committed to prison for sexual crimes and were ready to be released to the community. Dr. Peters assembled a small group of psychiatrists, reviewed the literature on existing treatment, and began to offer group psychotherapy to these parolees. As the program grew, it became known as the Center for Sexual Deviance.

In 1970, services were expanded to include support for victims of sexual abuse and in 1976, the program was formally incorporated as the Center for Rape Concern, a name that reflected the organization's increased focus on working with both victims and offenders. In 1979, following Dr. Peters' death, the organization was re-named the Joseph J. Peters Institute.

Over time, the JJPI team grew to include psychologists, social workers, and other mental health professionals. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, JJPI became well known for its national research and training grants and the development of specialized instruments for assessing individuals with sexual behavior problems, such as the Juvenile Sex Offender Assessment (J-SOAP). JJPI also gained recognition for its treatment programs for child and adult survivors of sexual abuse and for its treatment programs for adults and juveniles with a history of sexual offending.

In 2002, the Institute moved to 100 South Broad Street in Center City Philadelphia. Shortly thereafter a second location was opened to provide dedicated space for the provision of services for adults with sexual behavior problems and to house a new partial hospitalization program. In 2012, all Survivor Services were brought under one roof at 100 S. Broad Street, and all services for individuals with a history of sexual offending (later re-named Safety and Responsibility Services) were moved to a site a few blocks away, at 1211 Chestnut Street.

In 2015, JJPI again expanded our mission to serve individuals affected by exposure to a full range of traumatic experiences at our Survivor Services Program and also began providing treatment to those who engage in relational violence at our Safety & Responsibility Program. As JJPI approaches our 65th anniversary, we remain proud of Dr. Peters' legacy and look forward to continuing to evolve to meet the needs of our participants and the communities of the greater Philadelphia area.