Hazing Defined

Hazing Defined in New York

phillips & associates attorneys at law defines Hazing 

Hazing can be damaging to the psyches of its sufferers, and consequences can range from physical injuries and sexual injuries to long-lasting emotional distress, depression, insomnia, and long-term changes in interests or personality. If you are personally looking to have hazing defined because of personal experience and were subject to any type of hazing injuries, call Phillips & Associates trusted attorneys. We are lawyers dedicated to securing justice for wounded persons of sexual and physical abuse from hazing in institutional settings and organizations. Our firm offers free initial consultations and represents clients on a contingency fee positive outcome basis.

How are TYPES OF HAZING defined?

There are many types of hazing as the term includes any humiliating, degrading, abusive, or endangering activity that is expected of someone who joins or participates in a group, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate. Hazing occurs in group contexts and happens regardless of consent. Your willingness to participate does not shield another party from being held accountable for abusive hazing. When a persuasively threatening group environment is involved, certain power dynamics and peer pressure are at play, and consent doesn’t mean the same thing it means in other contexts. People can be abused because of their desire to belong to a group. You may be able to bring a lawsuit if you were subject to a type of hazing that resulted in injuries or harm to you. As a parent, you may be able to hold responsible parties accountable if your child died as a result of hazing.

The following are types of hazing: 

  •  Sexual shaming 
  • Verbal sexual threats 
  • Physical penetration or improper touching 
  • Gang rape 
  • Simulation of sex acts 
  • Perpetration of sex acts
  •  Forced nudity including being forced to walk around nude 
  • Forced consumption of too much food or liquid 
  • Participation in sexual assaults and rituals 
  • Sleep deprivation 
  • Whipping, flogging, paddling or other physical abuse 
  • Degrading or mentally abusive conduct 
  • Acts that could cause emotional, mental, or physical deprivation of harm 
  • Tattooing 
  • Branding 
  • Exposure to the elements


Hazing can result in sexual, physical or emotional injuries. For example, if you were subject to gang rape in a college hazing incident, you could suffer from depression, humiliation, insomnia, emotional distress, anxiety, PTSD, as well as physical injuries. These could result in losses that may be recovered in a lawsuit. For another example, if our attorneys are able to prove you were required to expose yourself for a prolonged period to snow and ice as part of a fraternity hazing ritual for new initiates, and you suffered hypothermia, frostbite, immersion foot, emotional distress, humiliation, depression, and other injuries as a result, you would be able to recover damages that flow from those losses.


Under New York Penal Law $120.16, hazing happens when an initiate is required to intentionally or recklessly engage in behavior that carries a risk of substantial physical injury to himself or others. It is a Class A misdemeanor when committed in the first degree. Additionally, the perpetrator of hazing, whether an individual or an institution that sponsored it, may be held accountable in a lawsuit for compensatory or punitive damages. The criminal conviction can have consequences for a civil suit, even though these are separate proceedings, which makes it imperative to talk to our plaintiffs’ attorneys as soon as possible if you believe you have a claim. Evidence from the criminal case may be essential to your civil lawsuit, since plaintiffs bear the burden of proof when suing for damages.


Hazing is a crime in 44 out of 50 states. However, the enforcement and strength of these laws vary significantly. In some states, only college or fraternity-related hazing is prohibited.


There are various types of hazing that cause long-lasting harm. Our New York City attorneys represent those who have been hazed in New York including Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County, and Nassau County. We are also in Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and can help throughout the U.S. Complete our online form or call us at (212) 248-7431 if you believe you or your child may have a claim. We represent clients on a contingency fee basis and provide free consultations.

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