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FAQ Statutes Of Limitations


Survivors, legislators push to revive statute of limitations bill

There is renewed interest and optimism that Pennsylvania will be able to pass comprehensive Statute of Limitations reform this year that includes a one-year look- back window.

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How to stop child abuse

The Latest: New Charges filed in foster care sex abuse case

A Long Island foster parent who sexually abused children in his care but is protected by New York’s Statute of Limitations on the crime has had new charges filed against him, and his case has ignited an investigation of NY’s foster care system.

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Abuse victim in ‘Spotlight’: Extend statute of limitations in Pennsylvania

A survivor who shared his story with the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team uses his story to support efforts to eliminate the Statute of Limitations on child sexual abuse.

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Why Statute of Limitations Reform works, and Mandated Reporter Laws Don’t

There is no legislative fix that will do as much to prevent child sexual abuse as Statute of Limitations reform. Changes to the Mandated Reporter laws are being suggested as a remedy to a recent sex abuse scandal involving the Boy Scouts, but this cannot work as well as SOL reform.

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The most disturbing aspect of a sexual-abuse scandal at an elite, New England prep school

A new, independent report reveals the St. George boarding school knew about child sexual abuse within its ranks and helped sexually abusive teachers get jobs elsewhere

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Why Residency Restrictions For Sex Offenders Just Don’t Work

Laws that restrict where registered sex offenders are popular among certain political circles. However, they don’t work, and between the false sense of security they generate, and the fact they are often used as an excuse to kill less popular legislation, they are truly a bad idea.

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Child Victims Act supporters press on after chief Assembly sponsor’s loss in primary

Despite the overwhelming success of candidates who vocally support the Omnibus Child Victims Act, the bill’s original sponsor lost the Democratic primary on Tuesday.

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Governor Cuomo, The Children Are Watching

New York’s Governor Cuomo has said that he supports the Omnibus Child Victims Act, but he has yet to exercise his leadership and push for this bill. Meanwhile, New York’s four million children are depending on him to do the right thing.

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Guam’s lawmakers vote to lift statute of limitations for sex abuse

The territory of Guam has just eliminated their Statute of Limitations for child sexual abuse.

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Homophobic priest accused of molesting child

A priest with a strong opinion against homosexuality has been credibly accused of molesting a boy 30 years ago. And due to New York’s Statute of Limitations on the crime, he faces no punishment.

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Man sexually abused as teen sues camp that employed abusive counselor

A New York businessman is trying to sue the summer camp where he was sexually abused. After he learned that the man who abused him had abused others, he felt the need to do something.

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Fake News About Child Sexual Abuse is No Laughing Matter

Fake News About Child Sexual Abuse is No Laughing Matter By Nancy Levine First Published in Medium   Fake news isn’t always so funny. While The Onion and The Daily Show have had us in stitches for years, fake news and false information published by a seemingly...
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Babysitter gets 30 days for child molestation

Have you signed the petition to protect children from sexual abuse?  Click here to sign now. By Rachel Dubrovin SPRINGFIELD, Mo. A Springfield babysitter will spend a month in jail after pleading guilty to child molestation. Police say Joseph Presley admitted to...
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Gary Greenberg addresses the rally

Ali Boak, Fighting for Children PAC, and Childhood Sexual Abuse Survivors Rally for Omnibus Child Victims Act

Today elected officials, advocates, survivors, and the community came together at City Hall in Mt. Kisco to demand the New York State Senate pass the Omnibus Child Victims Act (S. 7296) and ask voters elect candidates who will support the passage of this bill.

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Pennsylvania man who had vampire role-play sex with 14-year-old girl gets probation, house arrest

Have you signed the petition to protect children from sexual abuse?  Click here to sign now. BY TOBIAS SALINGER A Pennsylvania man who had sex with a 14-year-old girl and drank her blood received a sentence of 10 years’ probation, the first two under house...
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Frequently Asked Questions


What are Statutes of Limitations?

They are laws that say that a survivor of sexual abuse cannot bring their case to trial after they reach a certain age. In many states the statute of limitations is the victim’s 18th birthday, or a few years after their 18th birthday. It takes the average survivor 21 years to overcome the shame and stigma of abuse. That’s why the Stop Abuse Campaign supports bills that eliminate both the criminal and civil statutes of limitations on child sexual abuse.


Aren't most cases fabricated?

Research shows it is very rare for adults or children to fabricate a claim of sexual abuse. If they try, they will usually be caught during their initial questioning by the police. The fact that evidence fades over time means it is very hard to convict a decades old case. But it happens and we encourage all survivors to report their abuse when they can.


How can you prove you were sexually abused years ago

Even if a child discloses sexual abuse when they are still a child, it is exceptionally rare for them to disclose it immediately after the abuse happens. They often wait months or years. Prosecutors are used to prosecuting cases where a lot of time has elapsed between the abuse and the trial. Children are notoriously poor witnesses. They often have only moderate effect, with their developmental abilities brought into question. Judges and juries often expect to see medical evidence. Adult witnesses have some advantages that children do not. Adult victims of the same abusers can meet and corroborate. They can sometimes get their abuser to confess. They can speak more articulately. And they can seek appropriate medical and psychological treatment for themselves.


Don't statutes of limitations exist for a reason?

Yes, they do. Usually most people are interested in prosecuting a crime immediately after they have victimized. Their is usually more evidence that a crime has been committed immediately after the crime has been committed. Child sex abuse is different. Children cannot press charges themselves. They often don’t have an adult who believes or advocates for them. Children rarely name their abuser while they are still children. A recent study shows it takes survivors, on average, 21 years before they can speak about their abuse. As the average age of first victimization is 9 years old the problem that SOL’s cause by locking survivors out of courts is clear. There are no statutes of limitations for murder in any state. Many cities have no statutes of limitations for parking tickets. And that’s why some states, like North Carolina, have removed their statutes of limitations on child sexual abuse.


Doesn't it make more sense to focus on recent crimes?

Sex offenders rarely stop offending until they are held accountable. Since offenders will offend from adolescence until their eighties prosecuting old crimes protects a lot of today’s children. Studies show sex offenders often having up to three hundred victims throughout their lives. This means that every opportunity to prosecute them is a real opportunity to protect children.


Why do SOL's need to be changed in civil court too?

Retroactive justice in criminal courts is unconstitutional. So when an adult survivor is too old to seek justice in criminal court because SOL’s have expired changing the criminal SOL’s is not enough. Retroactively suing your abuser for damages in civil court is constitutional, if the state passes a law allowing for it. Survivors seek justice for many reasons, protecting children from the consequences they themselves have endured is usually top of their list. Where criminal courts cannot act civil courts can. This way lists of offenders found liable in civil court can be published and can be used in background checks.


Surely children will disclose abuse to protect themselves

Abusers use lot’s of techniques to stop children from disclosing. They will threaten and manipulate the children. They often become a major part of the child’s life; providing them with love, security, gifts, attention and other helpful hooks. Grooming desensitizes children to touch, including sexual touch, over time. Around half of abusers are a part of the child’s family. Relatives rarely suspect each other, and statistically are unlikely to believe or help a child who discloses to them.


Isn't it better to teach survivors to forgive and move on with their lives?

SOL reform is mostly about protecting today’s children although some survivors find the experience of bringing their abuser to trial healing. Others find forgiving their abuser is healing. For many survivors though the two are not incompatible. Being sexually abused raises your ACE score, and costs survivors an estimated $210,000 in medical care and lost earnings, regardless of whether they forgive their abuser or not. The way one survivor chooses to heal should not prevent another survivor’s right to bring their abuser to court, nor should it deny future children the right to be protected from abuse.

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