Welcome to the National Center for Victims of Crime

We are the nation's leading resource and advocacy organization for crime victims and those who serve them. Please join us as we forge a national commitment to help victims of crime rebuild their lives.

           

Add your name to a list of supporters for the Child Victim Act!

Click HERE to join thousands of concerned citizens ensuring justice does not expire!


I am a Survivor

If you are a survivor of Child Sex Abuse and are willing to share your story with advocates, legislators, committees, or media, please let us know. 

All responses are strictly confidential and can include only the information you feel comfortable sharing.

To proceed, click HERE

Child Victims Act in California

California Governor Jerry Brown Vetoed SB 131

Read the National Center for Victims of Crime's Statement on Jerry Brown's Veto of the Child Victims Act (SB 131)


Overview of SB 131, the California Child Victims Act

Background

In 2002, recognizing that it can take decades before victims of child sex abuse can come forward, or even recognize how they have been harmed, California amended the civil statute of limitations with a two-prong approach to give victims an opportunity for  justice. Under a "delayed discovery" provision, victims could file suit within three years of when they discover that their current injury or condition was causally related to the childhood sex abuse. For victims who had previously made their causal connection or whose statute of limitations had otherwise expired, the legislature created a one-year "window" in which victims could file a civil suit without regard to the statute of limitations.

The Quarry bothers were sexually abused in the 1970's, but did they did not recognize how they were harmed by the abuse until the late 2000's. They filed suit within three years of making the causal connection.  In 2012, the California Supreme Court ruled that the delayed discovery provision did not apply to the Quarrys because the language of the statute was not explicitly retroactive.  Consequently, their statute of limitations expired when the civil window closed  in 2003.  In effect, the court ruled that the law required them to file suit before they even knew they had been harmed.

SB 131, the California Child Victims Act, will do three things:

  1. It will make retroactive the delayed discovery provisions of 340.1 to comply with California Supreme Court decision in the Quarry case.

  1. It will provide a limited, one year, civil window to provide an opportunity for justice to those victims who were previously excluded by the technical defect of 340.1.

  1. 340.1 requires a victim suing a third-party to allege in his or her initial pleading specific proof that the defendant had notice of the sexual abuse.  The proof of this knowledge is usually documented in the defendant’s own files.  SB 131 would allow the parties to conduct discovery before the court could rule on a motion to dismiss for failure to allege proof of notice.
Not all silence is golden. Child Victims Act

 

 

Sign the Petition to Support the Child Victims Act

Become a part of the national movement to protect children and hold abusers and those who harbor them accountable. 

This One Minute petition will help victims of child sexual abuse of all ages.

Authors:

Senator Jim Beall (Democrat) District: 15

Where is this Bill?

Senate Bill 131: Track this bill

Read the Child Victims Act

Key States Currently Considering the Child Victim Act

For more information on reforming statutes of limitation for child sex abuse and efforts in other states, please visit one of our advocacy partners at www.SOL-Reform.com


   
Vote Smart

  • Find contact information for your elected representatives and let them know you support the Child Victim Act!
  • Track your elected official's record.

Need Help?

If you are victim or adult survivor seeking assistance, please refer to our Connect Directory for a full listing of organizations that can provide help. 


The Problem

The sexual abuse of children is a public health epidemic in the United States. Recent child sex abuse cases at Penn State University, the release of documents concerning sexual abuse and the Boy Scouts and consistent reports of abuse within California institutions such as Miramonte Elementary School are recent examples.

Research has shown that as many as one in four women and one in five men suffered abuse as a child and that almost 90% of abuse never gets reported.  Those that do come forward find themselves barred by the legal technicality of a statute of limitation. Considering how long victims often take to find the courage to speak out, statutes of limitation are woefully short and act as an arbitrary barrier to justice.



News Coverage of the California Child Victims Act

All news

End the lies. End the cover-ups of child sex abuse.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 30, 2013
Contact: Kath Cummins
              202.590.0837
              kcummins@ncvc.org

It’s time for the laws on child abuse to protect kids, not institutions.

The chilling findings of the Bronx District Attorney investigation into three decades of abuse at the Horace Mann School is a watershed for the State of New York and for the cause of reforming America’s immoral statutes of limitations laws on child sex abuse.

“Child sex abuse thrived at Horace Mann because there was a culture of protecting the reputation of the school, instead of protecting vulnerable students," said Mai Fernandez, Executive Director of the National Center for Victims of Crime.

“It is no longer acceptable that our laws do the same: protect reputations not children.”

“The onus is now on the Horace Mann School to allow independent investigators to pursue the truth about how sex abuse was enabled and covered up at one of America’s most prestigious schools,” she said.

“There is renewed pressure on our law-makers to step up for children and their families, and not hide behind powerful vested interests.”

For three decades, students at the Horace Mann School suffered a systematic pattern of sexual abuse by teachers, according to a ten month-long investigation by the Bronx District Attorney’s office. 60 people were interviewed and at least 25 victims and a dozen abusers were identified.

Despite finding that the pattern of abuse - which went from 1962 to as late as 1996 - went even beyond that alleged in an article in the New York Times Magazine last June, none of the alleged offenders will be prosecuted, because all allegations are beyond the State’s statute of limitations.

“Unforgivable is that this culture of lies and cover-ups tore apart families, and denied sufferers of abuse the support they needed from both professionals and their own communities,” Fernandez said.  Many victims thought they were the only one, and it is only after a lifetime of pain and failed relationships, that they discovered that others suffered too.”

The National Center for Victims of Crime has been campaigning across the nation for States to pass the Child Victims Act and end the statute of limitations for child sex abuse. For more information on our work and that of partner organizations in States including California, New York, Minnesota and Pennsylvania, go to our website: www.victimsofcrime.org/ChildVictimsAct/

The National Center for Victims of Crime, established in 1985, is the nation’s leading resource and advocacy organization for crime victims and those who serve them. For more than 25 years, the National Center has led this nation’s struggle to provide crime victims with the rights, protections, and services they need to rebuild their lives.