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Recent Law Changes on Sexual Abuse

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Recent Law Changes on Sexual Abuse

While statistics show that sexual abuse and sexual violence cases continue to be prevalent across the nation, affecting women, men, and children, several states and the federal government have taken steps to introduce law changes that would benefit sexual abuse victims and give them more time to muster the courage to file a claim.

Are There Any Recent Law Changes on Sexual Abuse at the Federal Level?

President Biden has recently signed the Eliminating Limits to Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims Act of 2022. The act eliminates the status of limitations for federal child sex abuse crimes, meaning victims no longer have a deadline to file a claim. This act is beneficial to victims of child sex abuse, as they were previously limited to filing a claim before their 28th birthday or not more than ten years after they discovered the crime or injury.

While the Act does not help older survivors with claims that have already expired, the new law may be very beneficial to survivors whose claims had not yet expired on September 16, 2022, because it eliminates the status of limitations for those and any future victims of child sexual abuse. The act covers child sexual abuse and trafficking instances that violate federal laws, including those affected by child pornography, and gives victims the right to seek civil lawsuits against the perpetrators and institutions responsible for their damages.

What Is the Maryland Child Victims Act of 2023?

Maryland is among many states that have recently enacted important legislative changes to empower survivors of sexual abuse and allow them to hold their abusers financially liable for their wrongdoings. The Maryland Child Victims Act of 2023 is a law that expands the statute of limitations for survivors of child sexual abuse in the state of Maryland. It removes the statute of limitations for civil cases, meaning victims can file civil lawsuits against the perpetrators of the abuse at any time, no matter how much time has passed since the abuse occurred.

The act also allows a two-year look-back window for civil cases for victims whose statute of limitations had already expired. That means victims who were previously barred from taking legal action against their abusers now have a chance to do so. The act raises the damages cap for public school boards and government entities to $890,000.00 and up to $1.5 million per incident for private schools and independent institutions. In addition, the new law provides resources to victims for counseling and mental health services.

What Is the Current Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse Claims in Pennsylvania?

The state of Pennsylvania has also extended its statute of limitations for sexual abuse claims, allowing victims more time to take action. Previously, child sexual abuse victims could only file a claim until their 30th birthday, and adult victims had even less time – only two years, counting from the date when the abuse took place.

In 2019, the state updated its legislation to allow child sexual abuse victims to file a civil lawsuit at any time until they turn 55 years old. Adults abused when they were between the ages of 18 and 24 now have until their 30th birthday to file a claim. Unfortunately, the new law still only allows two years for those who are 25 or older to file a claim and does not apply to any cases of abuse that happened before 2019.

What Should I Do if I Am Not Sure Whether I Am Eligible to File a Claim for Sexual Abuse?

Understanding aspects such as the statute of limitations applicable to a sexual abuse claim can be confusing and leave survivors unsure about whether they are still eligible to file a claim. The attorneys at Andreozzi + Foote are well-versed in all aspects of legislation affecting civil sexual abuse lawsuits, and they can assist you in analyzing your case and determining whether you are eligible to pursue your claim. Even if you are not sure whether you have a case, the attorneys at Andreozzi + Foote are here to help. Call us at 866-311-8640 for a confidential consultation.

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