More States Changing Statute of Limitations Laws in Civil Child Sex Abuse Lawsuits
The statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases varies from state to state. Some are two years from the date the victim discovers they were injured by the abuse, while others give child sex abuse victims a certain number of years after reaching the age of majority, or 18 (Pennsylvania’s civil child sex abuse statute of limitations is 12 years after reaching 18).
However, with increasing reports of child sex abuse scandals, more and more states are extending the statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases to allow more victims of sex abuse to bring claims against the abusers as well as those who covered up the abuse or otherwise knowingly allowed it to continue. In addition, many states are amending the civil child sex abuse statute of limitations to open special widows for victims whose cases were previously time-barred.
California Child Sex Abuse Statute of Limitations Update: The California legislature is currently considering opening a 1 year window. The window would allow victims of child sex abuse to bring civil claims against entities which failed to stop the abuse (i.e., a Catholic school which knew of a sexually abusive teacher, yet failed to remove the teacher).
Delaware Child Sex Abuse Statute of Limitations Update: In 2007, the Delaware legislature opened a window to allow victims of child sex abuse to file civil claims. Currently there is no statute of limitations for child molestation civil cases in Delaware. § 8145. Civil suits for damages based upon sexual abuse of a minor by an adult.
Hawaii Child Sex Abuse Statute of Limitations Update: In 2012, the Hawaii legislature opened a 2 year window, effective April 24, 2012. It allows victims of child sex abuse the opportunity to obtain justice by filing civil claims which were previously barred.
Minnesota Child Sex Abuse Statute of Limitations Update: Earlier this year, the Minnesota legislature abolished its statute of limitations in civil cases of child sex abuse. The legislature also opened up a 3 year window for those whose cases of child sex abuse were barred by the statute of limitations.
Other states which have recently considered amending or abolishing the statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases include New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. To date however, none of the proposed laws have been able to get passed.
Why Child Sex Abuse Victims Wait to Come Forward
Children who experience sex abuse cope in many ways. Some act out immediately, some hide the abuse well. In many cases, the memories of such abuse are locked away in a sense. It can take decades to come to even fully understand what occurred. The type of damage done by child sex abuse is entirely different from any other type of injury. This is why the statute of limitations for any case of child sex abuse, criminal or civil, should be abolished entirely. We cannot apply normal principles of tort law, responsibility and the statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases.
- Pennsylvania Legislature Considers Bill to Aid in Investigation of Child Sex Abuse
- Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection Issues Recommendations
About Civil Child Sex Abuse Lawyer – Brian Kent
For more information, contact Brian Kent, a former sex crimes unit prosecutor. Brian offers free consultations to victims of sex abuse. 800-220-7600
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