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No Statute Of Limitations On Child Sexual Abuse For 3 Years In California

OKABE & HAUSHALTER Apr 14, 2021 Child Molestation

Being sexually abused as a child can result in trauma and emotional suffering that manifests itself long after a child becomes an adult. There are a number of reasons that child sexual abuse victims don’t come forward sometimes until years after their experience. As states begin to recognize the difficulties victims have when confronting their abusers, they are extending the time that victims can hold their abusers legally accountable for their actions. California has recently extended its statute of limitations giving child sexual abuse victims more time to file claims.

At Okabe & Haushalter, we are glad there is now a longer period of time for child sexual abuse victims to bring a civil lawsuit against their abusers. Our child sexual abuse and molestation attorneys don’t believe abusers should get to benefit from the law.

Civil Law Statute of Limitations for Child Sexual Abuse

California is often quite progressive when it comes to being the first to take decisive action on laws that protect people. It is now known that many child sexual abuse victims never get the opportunity to confront their abusers in court because they don’t make the connection between their injuries and the abuse until years after the applicable statute of limitations has expired. The law often works to protect the wrong party and California decided that wasn’t right.

Effective January 1, 2020, California Assembly Bill – 218 does three main things.

  1. Extends the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse – survivors of child sexual abuse have until age 40 or 5 years from the time the connection is made between the injury and the abuse – whichever date occurs later.
  2. Suspends the statute of limitations for 3-years on past abuse where the time to make a claim has otherwise expired (beginning on January 1, 2020)
  3. Awards 3 times the damages in cases where it can be shown that the child sexual abuse was covered up

Why Child Sexual Abuse Often Doesn’t Get Reported

The sad fact is that most child sexual abuse occurs between the victim and someone that he or she knows. Although the perpetrator might be another child, it is more likely to be a family member or other trusted adult that has access to the child. The emotional complexity of the situation for the child and the perpetrator’s cautioning the victim not to tell have everything to do with many incidents of child sexual abuse never being reported.

According to the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) and Darkness to Light (d2l.org), the following are known about child sexual abuse.

  • 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused before age 18
  • 93% of victims know their abusers
  • 96% of abusers are male; 76% are married men
  • the younger the victim, the more likely the abuser is a family member
  • lack of family structure is the most important risk factor for child sexual abuse

How Victims of Child Sexual Abuse Can Have Justice Served

If you or a loved one have been victimized by child sexual abuse, California wants you to be able to seek justice against your abuser and any associated organization that had a legal responsibility to you.  Schools, churches, and other community organizations are often held responsible for the persons they choose to work with when those persons commit child sexual abuse.

There is no question that child sexual abuse has a detrimental impact on victims that can adversely affect every area of their lives. Mental health problems, substance abuse, and physical ailments – from minor to severe – are all commonly experienced by adult survivors of child sexual abuse. Being able to hold accountable those who hurt you so deeply may help you to recover and make sure others do not have to go through anything similar.

The child sexual abuse and molestation lawyers at Okabe & Haushalter understand that these claims are often very difficult for our clients – even years after the abuse. Our legal team serves and supports you with compassion while aggressively pursuing the claim against your abuser. For a free, confidential consultation you may contact us here or by calling 310-430-7799.