Paige Wigginton is the Director of Special Services within the Division of Public Safety. Paige joined the Division of Public Safety in June 2016 as the Associate Director of the office after working in University Life as the Associate Director of Student Intervention Services as well as the College of Arts and Sciences as the Assistant Director of Advising and Academic Services. Paige holds a Doctorate degree in Higher Education from the University of Pennsylvania and has worked in crisis response and support at Penn since 2010.
Contact Special Services: 215-898-4481
Members of the Penn community may inquire and receive support services when victimized by any type of crime.
Special Services fosters close partnerships with:
- University of Pennsylvania Police Department
- University Life Division
- Wellness at Penn
- Penn’s 12 schools and centers
- Office of the Associate Vice President for Equity and Title IX
Philadelphia Support Services
- Philadelphia Special Victims Unit
- Philadelphia Sexual Assault Response Center (PSARC)
- District Attorney’s Office
- Criminal and Family Court divisions
DPS offers many types of safety presentations, which can be tailored to your group or department’s needs. Experts will meet with you to discuss personal safety and empowerment, fire and residential safety, and emergency procedures for on- and off-campus. Please use the web form below to learn more, and someone from Special Services will be in touch!
Self-Defense & Empowerment Courses
Special Services offers free-of-charge self-defense classes to ALL Penn affiliates. These self-defense trainings empower individuals through communication and physical defense. We provide gender inclusive and expansive courses, separate courses for women and men, and private classes. Contact Special Services to schedule a private class at
Our courses are now available through our partnership with Penn’s Division of Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics (DRIA).
You may register here to attend a FREE self-defense class at Pottruck Health & Fitness Center!
Class schedules can be found on link above! Note, you must complete a 1-hour LIVE virtual workshop before attending the 2-hour hands on training.
The Department of Special Services offers emotional support, guidance and options counseling to any Penn Affiliate who experiences a sensitive crime, such as, rape, sexual assault, relationship or domestic violence, harassment and stalking. Our highly experienced personnel, familiar with every element of University systems and the Philadelphia criminal justice system, will guide you, step-by-step, through the process of exploring ALL of your available options, should you experience sexual or interpersonal violence.
Criminal prosecution is never mandatory for the victim/survivor and it remains an option for the duration of the statue of limitations (varies by state). Options for victim/survivors of sexual violence are numerous and may be exercised in combination with each other, or separately to match the needs and emotional welfare of the victim/survivor.
Options include, but are not limited to:
- Medical treatment and forensic examination (i.e. Sexual Assault Nurse Examination “SANE Exam”) at the Philadelphia Sexual Assault Response Center (PSARC). Victim/survivors may choose to have a forensic exam (sometimes also called a “rape kit”), to receive important immediate medical care and preserve possible DNA evidence. At PSARC all victim/survivors will be given the option to be interviewed by a detective of the Philadelphia Police Department’s Special Victims Unit. Should a victim/survivor choose to speak with a Detective, criminal prosecution is not mandatory.
- Should a Victim/survivors choose not to receive a forensic exam, individuals can receive a medical and health examination at Student Health Services and/or the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. These medical and health exams cannot collect potential evidence. Providers will speak to Individuals seeking medical support about the options to more formally report their experience, however, no criminal report of sexual assault will be taken by medical providers, and the victim/survivors identity will remain only within the University of Pennsylvania Health System.
- Individuals who experience sexual violence committed by a Penn affiliate may opt to proceed with disciplinary action against the perpetrator(s) in consultation with the Associate Vice President for Equity and Title IX Officer.
- Regardless of whether a victim/survivor chooses to access medical care and/or criminal and/or disciplinary reporting; other supportive options involving academic, community, social, emotional, and psychological support are available. Special Services partners with Student Health and Counseling in Wellness as well as Student Intervention Services (SIS) in University Life to meet the interim support and safety needs of those impacted by interpersonal violence.
- The City of Philadelphia also offers myriad services and organizations, such as Women Organized Against Rape, Women Against Abuse and the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Victim/Witness Services Unit.
The Department of Special Services will outline all of these options in detail, and provide support, guidance and accompaniment through any and all processes selected by the victim/survivor.
Our goal is to empower each victim/survivor to make the best and most informed decision for their own sense of well-being and comfort. No course of action will ever be mandated by the Division of Public Safety, or by the University of Pennsylvania.
Reporting Suspected Sexual Abuse Against Minors:
Individuals who have information about possible child sexual abuse should immediately report this information in two ways:
- Call Department of Human Services (DHS) at 1-800-932-0313
- Online reporting portal for mandated reporters in non-emergency situations https://www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis/public/home
- Call Special Services at 215-898-6600 to discuss process and comprehensive support for reporter and impacted parties.
To learn more about reporting abuse and/or neglect of children in Pennsylvania go to: https://www.dhs.pa.gov/contact/Pages/Report-Abuse.aspx
Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) Team
- Provides crisis intervention to a person or group of people who have experienced a critical incident.
- Designed as emotional “first aid”
- Penn’s CISM Team has over 40 members (DPS, CAPS, VPUL, CHAS, EAP)
Campus and Confidential Resources
Please see their respective websites for availability.