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

New Hope for Victims of Crime

Mai Fernandez

Thanks to several great U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) annual studies, we know a lot about crime. But what do we know about crime victims?

Who are they? What services do they need, which victims seek them, and what are the results?

Which victims do not report crime—and why?

Until we have clear answers to these questions—says a new report from DOJ’s Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), we can’t give our nation’s crime victims the support they need.

The report, “Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services,” is a not only a sweeping, ambitious achievement but a call to action for the victim services field.

Only once before in our history (with OVC’s New Directions from the Field: Victims’ Rights and Services for the 21st Century in 1998) has the field so thoroughly assessed its status and recommended steps to advance its work. Vision 21 revisits the 1998 recommendations, evaluates our progress, and creates a detailed blueprint for transforming victim services in the decades ahead.

The pre-report literature reviews and stakeholder forums uncovered huge gaps in knowledge about crime victims. Scientific research on crime victims is sparse and sporadically applied. We need to know more about victims and their circumstances, the enforcement of victims’ rights, program evaluation, and evidence-based practices to improve the quality and targeting of our work.

 We need more victim-related statistical data to understand the impact and prevalence of crimes.

And we need to use such knowledge to retool and coordinate our services, expand our legislative vision and outreach, and build a technologically advanced, efficient nationwide system of victim services.

Vision 21 faces these challenges head-on.

While admitting the titanic scope of its agenda, the report outlines specific steps to begin transforming the field. It recommends conducting continuous,  rather than episodic, strategic planning to effect real change; developing more and better research; ensuring statutory, policy, and programmatic flexibility to address ongoing and new challenges; and applying technology, training and innovation to equip the field for the 21stcentury. Such steps will put the field on the path to reaching our goals.

What excites us most about Vision 21though, is its holistic approach to these challenges.

The crime victims’ rights movement emerged from individual, grassroots efforts throughout the country. The OVC online victim services directory now lists more than 10,000 agencies, but the movement is highly fragmented, and laws and policies vary dramatically in different jurisdictions.

Although we join forces on a few occasions, such as National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, we are not organized to effect the panoramic changes the report recommends. Vision 21 says all that need to change.       

Such change has already begun.

Even before Vision 21 was published, the Office for Victims of Crime provided funding to the Bureau of Justice Statistics to expand its data collection activities for the National Crime Victimization Survey to include more descriptive information about victims, the services they receive, and their reasons for accessing these services. That research will give us vital empirical information on the gaps in service that we all know about but can’t formally document.

 Also, President Barack Obama’s 2014 budget request to Congress for Fiscal Year 2014 includes not only a $95 million increase in the cap on the Crime Victims Fund (as we advocated in our May 9 blog) but also $45 million to implement Vision 21

If Congress provides this funding, Vision 21—with funding to coordinate our nationwide efforts—will be off to a solid start.

Crime victims and their advocates owe a profound debt of gratitude to Joye E. Frost, Acting Director of the Office for Victims of Crime, and her dedicated staff—as well as every participant in the Vision 21 research—for providing this groundbreaking roadmap for our field. 

Now that we know where we’re headed, let’s start transforming victim services in the 21st century!

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.