California Governor Gavin Newsom has recently signed a new state law granting victims of childhood sexual abuse more time to make a report of the abuse and file a claim. The new legislation was first introduced in 2018 following widespread allegations of sexual abuse of minor children by high-ranking members of religious organizations along with the conviction of former U.S. Olympic gymnastics team doctor, Larry Nassar.
According to the bill’s author, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, the idea behind the law was to allow victims of sexual abuse the opportunity to tell their story when they feel ready, without having to worry about running out of time. Presently, a sexual abuse survivor will have to file a claim within 8 years of reaching the age of majority or within 3 years of the date the survivor learned of the abuse or should have learned about the abuse.
California Assembly Bill 218
Sexual abuse can occur in many different forms and can affect many types of victims. Because of this, sexual abuse claims can be varied; parents could bring a case forward on behalf of a minor, or adults could file a report relating to an abuse that occurred during childhood. New California legislation attempts to focus on allowing victims more time to come forward to file a claim.
Assembly Bill 218 will extend the statute of limitations, allowing survivors the ability to make a report about the sexual assault when the victim reaches 26 years or age to when the victim has reached the age of 40. It also increases the time period of delayed reasonable discovery from 3 years to 5.
Moreover, Senate Bill 218 will provide a time period of 3 years for the revival of any past claim that may have expired as a result of the statute of limitations. The bill will also allow damages to be trebled in claims where the underage victim became assaulted over the effort to cover past assaults. Other key features of the AB 218 include:
- Changes to the reference from childhood sexual abuse to childhood sexual assault, and
- Changes to the provision governing confidentiality provision in these types of claims.
Defend Your Right to Justice, Seek the Legal Support of an Experienced Law Firm
For many survivors of sexual abuse, pursing justice through the California Courts System can be very difficult to navigate. Due to the variances in laws with regard to sexual abuse crimes, it is important for victims to understand their legal options and be aware of the statute of limitations. In California, the statute of limitations can negatively affect a victim’s claim, even when the claim is valid.
The personal injury attorneys at Martinez & Schill, LLP have successfully handled a wide variety of sexual abuse claims. The firm is dedicated to assisting people bring those responsible to justice. Sexual abuse claims are sensitive in nature and demand the attention and support of a skilled and experienced law firm. If you or someone you love was the victim of sexual abuse, seek the legal representation of a qualified law firm. The attorneys at Martinez & Schill, LLP are well-versed in sexual abuses cases and are prepared to defend the rights of those who have been injured as a result of another’s wrongdoing.