subscribe: Posts | Comments

FAQ Statutes Of Limitations


Guam leader Oks bill ending time limits in child sex cases

Guam’s governor signed the bill that will end the Statute of Limitations for the territory, despite objections from the Catholic church

Read More

Judge weighs dismissal of Penn State ex-officials’ charges

A trial to dismiss the convictions of administrators in Penn State who were convicted in relation to Jerry Sandusky’s will start soon

Read More

Conscious Capitalism: This is Rape Culture

The relationship between Whole Foods, the Conscious Capitalism conference, and confessed child rapist Marc Gafni shows how willing our society is to accommodate sexual abuse.

Read More

Lawmakers are enabling sexual predators

The details of Arthur Gannon’s sexual abuse crimes are shocking and sickening. But what’s more shocking is that his crimes were almost beyond prosecution, due to New York’s Statute of Limitations on child sexual abuse. Advocates have been trying to remove the Statute of Limitations for a decade, and voters should remember who supported it and who opposed it when they take to the polls.

Read More

Cardinal Dolan still opposes the one bill that would make a real difference

Cardinal Dolan is trying to appear supportive of victims of child sexual abuse, but the legislation and compensation program he supports are nothing but smoke and mirrors.

Read More

After Hastert, Illinois pushes for change to child abuse law

In light of the fact that Dennis Hastert wasn’t able to be charged with child sexual abuse, despite confessing to it, Illinois is considering elimination of its Statute of Limitations for child sexual abuse

Read More

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.

Read More
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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This