Ensure justice for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Eliminate the Statute of Limitations

Dear Citizens Working to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse,

Take action today to help prevent child sexual abuse in Massachusetts! The Statute of Limitations (SOL) on child sexual abuse cases, although extended in the last decade in Massachusetts, still limits access to justice for survivors, accountability for abusers and fails to prevent the future abuse of more Massachusetts children. The trauma, secrecy and shame associated with sexual abuse prevents most victims from reporting the crime until years after the fact, making it difficult to pursue criminal charges or civil damages.

A national movement is gathering momentum to reform or eliminate the SOL on child sexual abuse. In 2023 alone, 31 states have introduced SOL reform bills, including:

  • 12 to eliminate criminal SOLs
  • 22 to eliminate civil SOL
  • 19 to establish revival/windows, which allow cases beyond the SOL to be prosecuted for a limited amount of time

According to Child USAdvocacy, Massachusetts receives an “F” on its current SOL laws as they limit the ability of survivors to seek civil damages against their abusers only until the victim’s 53rd birthday and only against individuals, not institutions; and criminal actions against their abusers only until the victim’s 43rd birthday. Massachusetts is one of only 6 states to still have a criminal SOL for child sexual abuse. Also, Massachusetts’ cap on civil damages allowed for sex crimes against children ranks among the worst in the US and the state’s current charitable immunity limitations must be lifted.

Children are still in harm’s way in Massachusetts until the SOL is eliminated. Please contact your legislators and ask them to support:

“An Act eliminating the statute of limitations in civil child sexual abuse cases“

S1038, filed by Senator Joan Lovely https://malegislature.gov/Bills/193/S1038

H1614, filed by Representative John Lawn https://malegislature.gov/Bills/193/H1614

These bills amend Ch. 260 so that a civil claim involving child sexual abuse can be found and filed at any time after the crime has occurred.

“An Act amending the statute of limitations relating to civil rights actions and criminal prosecutions for the sexual assault and rape of a child.”

H1536, filed by Representative Ken Gordon https://malegislature.gov/Bills/193/H1536

This bill would amend Ch. 260 so that a civil claim can be filed or criminal prosecution taken at any time after the child sexual abuse offense occurred.

Enter your name, email and address to the right and send an already drafted letter to your Massachusetts State Senator and Representative asking them to support these bills!

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