Child Abuse Prevention Month

Here is What is Happening in Your State

AL AK AZ AR CA CO

CT DE DC FL GA GU

HI ID IL IN IA KS

KY LA ME MD MA MI

MN MS MO MT NE NV

NH NJ NM NY NC ND

OH OK OR PA PR RI

SC SD TN TX UT VA

VT WA WV WI WY

Action in 2014

  • California - S.B. 924 (Civil Extension) and S.B. 926 (Criminal Extension)
  • Georgia – H.B. 771 (Extend civil SOL against perp.)
  • Hawaii - S.B. 2687 (Civil Extension), H.B. 2034 and S.B. 2448  (Eliminates the civil and criminal statutes of limitations for victims of sexual assault in the first and second degree and continuous sexual assault of a minor under the age of fourteen years)
  • Iowa - S.F. 2109 (Extends criminal and civil statute of limitations for child sex abuse to 25 years after majority)
  • New York - A1771A (Eliminating criminal and civil SOLs and creating a 1-year window)
  • Pennsylvania – S.B. 1103 (Extends civil SOL to age 50, retrospective), H.B. 2067 (Eliminates civil and criminal SOL, retrospective civil extension to Age 50)

Passed in 2014

  • Florida - S.B. 494  (Eliminate criminal SOL for children abused over age 13)
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View Snapshot Of SOL STATUTES AND 2014 PENDING BILLS Across The U.S.

Comprehensive PDF including: 2014 Pending Child Sex Abuse Statutes of Limitations Reform Bills, Window Legislation Enacted and States with No Civil and Criminal SOLs

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View Child Sex Abuse Data & Resources

Including: Why Victims Delay, Harm Done to Child Pornography Victims, Effects of Trauma, the Public Impact of Child Sex Abuse

Why SOL Reform?

  • 💥

    Child Sex Abuse Is An Enormous National Problem

    It is estimated that one in four women in this country have been sexually abused as a child, and one out of every five men. Compounding the problem is the simple fact that the vast majority of sexual abuse – some studies putting the number at 90% – never gets reported.

  • Current SOL favors the abusers over the victims

    In some states, the statute of limitations on child sex abuse is too short for many victims, who often find the courage to speak out and confront their abuser or recover painful buried memories of abuse only after the statute of limitations has run out.

  • Identify Predators

    Disclose the identification of previously unknown predators to the public so children will not be abused in the future. Predators generally have more than one victim. While criminal SOLs can not be retroactive, civil SOLs can be. Publicly identifying predators could have the dual benefit of bringing justice to victims and preventing future abuse by the same perpetrator. When California passed reform legislation, over 300 previously unknown offenders were publicly exposed and hundreds of previously unknown victims were able to come forward.

  • 👥

    Justice

    Remedy the wrong done to child sex abuse survivors caused by a overly short statute of limitations that placed predators and their enablers in a preferred position to the victims and give child sex abuse survivors their day in court.

5 Myths about SOL Reform Debunked

Myth #1: SOL reform is dangerous, because it will generate many false claims.

Fact                 According to reputable studies conducted by scientists, false claims by victims about sexual abuse are extremely rare. In cases brought under California’s window, there were about five total false claims from over 1,000. False claims were washed out early in the process. Even in those rare cases, the burden of proof of the abuse rests with the victim bringing the claim.

Myth #2: It is unfair to revive expired claims because memories fade and evidence is stale.

Fact                 Plaintiffs must have facts to support their claims, or a case is dismissed. For most victims, the events are seared on their memories, and most institutions have records or employees that corroborate the victim’s claims. The justice system works, and opening a window to lawsuits based on past abuse does no more than grant access to the system.

Myth #3: Window legislation that allows victims to file retroactively revived lawsuits will lead to diocesan bankruptcies.

Fact                 Virtually all of the diocesan bankruptcies (Davenport, Fairbanks, Milwaukee, Portland, Spokane, and Tucson) occurred in states with no such legislation. Only the Wilmington and San Diego bankruptcies followed enactment of SOL reform legislation, and only Wilmington followed through on the filing to a court-approved plan. San Diego was forced out of bankruptcy court because of its failure to disclose its actual and ample wealth.

Myth #4: The majority of child sex abuse victims are boys.

Fact                 At least 60.2% (3 of 5 child sex abuse victims) are female.

Myth #5: SOL reform unfairly targets religious organizations.

Fact                 No SOL reform has been limited to any one or all religious organizations and there are countless other institutions that have protected abusers including schools, hospitals, sports programs and juvenile facilities.  Moreover, the largest number of survivors come from families and close family associates, which are covered by SOL reform, too.

Definitions

  • Window = law that eliminates the civil SOL for all victims, even if the SOL has expired
  • Retroactive = applicable to acts that occurred before the date of enactment of the law
  • Civil elimination = elimination of civil SOL; goes into effect according to the terms of the statute (can be retroactive or only prospective)
  • Civil extension = extension of civil SOL by a set number of years
  • Criminal elimination = elimination of SOL for crimes; starts running on date law goes into effect
  • Criminal extension = extension of SOL for crimes by a set number of years; starts running on date law goes into effect

Partners for Reform

SOL Heroes

December 2013

Tony and Doreen, good people pushing for good laws in IL!

October 2013

Sen Jom Beall of CA for fighting the good fight for SB 131

August 2013

Senator Maile S.L. Shimabukuro, Hawaii

July 2013

Sen. Karen Peterson of Delaware is one of the leading pioneers in SOL reform in the United States. She led the charge to enact a window in 2007, and to eliminate the civil SOL that same year. When a technicality blocked the 2007 window from being applied to abusing health care professionals, she also led the charge to enacting a 2010 window that would apply to health care professionals in Delaware. Thanks Sen. Peterson for your vision and passion for the protection of children!

Senator Joe Dunn, California
Senator Martha Escutia (ret.), California
Senator Karen Peterson, Delaware
Representative Debra Hudson, Delaware
Senator Benjamin Cruz, Guam
Survivor Lauren Book, Florida (view article)
Senator Maile S.L. Shimabukuro, Hawaii
Senator Ron Laz, Minnesota
Representative Steve Simon, Minnesota
Former Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham, Pennsylvania
Representative Louise Bishop, Pennsylvania
Representative Michael P. McGeehan, Pennsylvania
Representative Mark Rozzi, Pennsylvania
Assemblywoman Marge Markey, New York

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