California Extends Time For Adults to Make Claims For Child Sexual Abuse

California Extends Time For Adults to Make Claims For Child Sexual Abuse
February 19, 2024
California extends time for adults to make claims for child sexual abuse

In a landmark move, California has significantly extended the timeframe for adults to make claims for child sexual abuse, a decision that marks a pivotal moment in the fight against child molestation. This legislative change recognizes the complex nature of child sexual abuse and the often-delayed reporting by survivors. It underscores a growing awareness of the long-lasting impact such abuse has on individuals and the need for a legal system that accommodates their path to healing. By expanding the statute of limitations, California opens new avenues for justice and closure for countless survivors, heralding a new era of support and acknowledgment for those affected by such traumatic experiences.

At MLG Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers, our California sex abuse lawyer is here to fight for you. We advocate for the needs of child sexual assault survivors. If you were sexually assaulted, the statute of limitations may have been extended, allowing you to file a claim.

Learn more about how this change impacts a child sexual assault survivor. Then, contact us to schedule a case consultation to review your situation with our team.

Sexual Assault Claims: A Bigger Issue Than Most Realize

The problem of child molestation in schools, scouts, sports, church groups, and other programs is a nationwide issue that affects thousands of children every year. According to a report by the National Center for Victims of Crime, one in four girls and one in six boys will suffer sexual abuse before reaching the age of 18. Unfortunately, many victims of child molestation never report the abuse, often due to fear, shame, or a lack of understanding about what happened to them.

This silence and delay in reporting can significantly impact the ability of survivors to seek legal redress and justice. The effects of child sexual abuse trauma can have long-lasting consequences, affecting the victim's mental health, relationships, and overall well-being into adulthood. Recognizing this, the legal system is evolving to better support and provide justice for survivors. California's recent legislative changes are a critical step in acknowledging the unique challenges faced by survivors of child sexual abuse and offering them a path toward healing and justice.

Why Many Child Abuse Cases Go Unreported

Why many child abuse cases go unreported

Victims of child abuse often remain silent due to a complex mix of fear, shame, and confusion about what they have endured. The fear stems from potential repercussions from the abuser or disbelief by those they might tell. Shame is deeply ingrained, as victims might feel responsible for the abuse or worry about societal stigma. In addition, a lack of understanding about the nature of their abuse, especially in younger children, leads to confusion and silence.

The psychological impact of this unreported trauma is profound and long-lasting. It can cause major mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and trust issues in relationships. Children might normalize the abuse or be unaware that what they experienced was indeed abuse. This trauma, if unaddressed, often carries into adulthood, affecting the victim's mental health and quality of life.

Childhood Sexual Abuse Survivors Have a Larger Window To File Sexual Abuse Claims

In California, Assembly Bill 218, which was enacted in October 2019, allows adult victims of childhood sexual abuse to bring personal injury claims even many years after the abuse happened. Under the new law, childhood abuse survivors have to submit a claim by their 40th birthday or up to five years after uncovering the abuse. The legal system uses the latter of these dates to define the statute of limitations on child molestation in the state.

As an example, if you were molested as a child but didn't discover the abuse until you were 55 years old, you could file a sexual abuse claim until you were 60. In addition to extending the deadline to make a claim, Assembly Bill 218 allows courts to triple the damage awards when sexual abuse happens alongside an attempted or successful cover-up.

Extended Statute of Limitations: What This Means for Victims

The new statute of limitations in California represents a significant shift in how the legal system supports survivors of child sexual abuse. By extending the time frame for filing claims, the law acknowledges the reality that many survivors need years, or even decades, to come to terms with their abuse. This change means that survivors up to 40 years of age, or within five years of discovering the abuse, can now seek justice. It provides a much-needed window for those who were previously barred by time constraints.

This extension not only offers legal recourse but also sends a powerful message to survivors: their experiences matter, and it's never too late to seek justice. It allows for the psychological process of coming to terms with abuse to unfold naturally. Survivors can now have the space and time they need to heal before deciding to take legal action. This can be extremely empowering and validating for those who feel they have missed their chance to hold their abusers accountable.

The Psychological Injury Is Real

The psychological injury is real

This new statute of limitation on California child abuse is vital because many children suppress memories of abuse, and they only surface much later in life. Child victims often struggle to process what happened to them and to realize that they have been victims of abuse.

The extended statute of limitations is a response to this understanding, providing survivors with the time they need to come to terms with their experience and seek justice. It acknowledges that the journey to recovery and realization is not uniform and can vary greatly from person to person. By allowing claims to be filed later in life, the law empowers those who were previously constrained by the limited timeframe. This change is a significant advancement in child protection and survivor support, reflecting a deeper societal commitment to addressing these heinous crimes.

Childhood Sexual Assaults and Civil Claims

There are many different types of sexual abuse that children can be victimized by and make claims for, such as exhibitionism or exposing oneself, intercourse, fondling, masturbating in the presence of a victim or forcing the victim to masturbate, lewd phone calls or texts, and producing or owning child pornography. Any one or a combination of these acts may give rise to a claim under Assembly Bill 218.

Our team of child sexual abuse lawyers routinely represent adults who wish to hold perpetrators accountable and/or schools or care facilities accountable for allowing the abuse to occur. Even if the abuse happened many years ago, it may not be too late to make a claim. We understand that this is a sensitive issue and are compassionate advocates for victims. Our initial consultations are always free and strictly confidential. We are here to help you understand your rights, pursue compensation, and hold people or institutions responsible for the abuse.

Seeking Justice: How MLG Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers Can Help

At MLG Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers, we specialize in representing survivors of child sexual abuse, understanding the delicacy and sensitivity these cases require. Our team is experienced and skilled in navigating the complexities of these legal battles, offering a compassionate and supportive approach. We are committed to providing a safe space where survivors can discuss their stories and seek justice without fear of judgment or re-traumatization. We aim not just to win cases but to help our clients find a sense of closure and healing.

We understand that each survivor's journey is unique. As a result, our approach is customized to meet their individual needs and circumstances. Our firm offers free, confidential consultations, allowing survivors to explore their legal options without any obligation or financial burden. We stand by our clients every step of the way, from the initial consultation to the resolution of their case, ensuring they feel supported, heard, and empowered.

At MLG Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers, we are advocates for justice and healing. If you believe sexual assault occurred, then contact our childhood sex abuse attorney to schedule a consultation. California law is on your side.

Contact MLG Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers To File Your Childhood Sexual Assault Claim Today

Contact MLG Injury & Accident Law to file your childhood sexual assault claim today

If you or someone you know is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, now is the time to take action. MLG Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers is here to support you in navigating the legal process and fighting for the justice and compensation you deserve. We encourage you to take a look at our case results, which speak for themselves. Don't let another day pass by without exploring your rights – contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.

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