Ensure justice for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Eliminate the Statute of Limitations
Dear Citizens Working to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse,
Justice should not have a time limit. 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, 38 states have introduced SOL reform bills, including:
- 20 to eliminate criminal SOL and 17 to extend it
- 26 to eliminate civil SOL and 16 to extend it
- 21 to establish revival/windows, which allow cases beyond the SOL to be prosecuted for a limited amount of time or civil damages to be sued for (Child USA 2023 SOL Tracker)
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 damages against individual abusers, not institutions. Survivors also can only press criminal charges against their abusers until their 43rd birthday.
Children are still in harm’s way in Massachusetts until the SOL is eliminated. Please contact your legislators and ask them to support:
H1536, “An Act amending the statute of limitations relating to civil rights actions and criminal prosecutions for the sexual assault and rape of a child," filed by Representative Ken Gordon.
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!