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

Victim safety and privacy must come first when weighing the release of 911 calls

For Immediate Release

Contact: Kath Cummins
              202.467.8743
              kcummins@ncvc.org

The National Center for Victims of Crime today called for all states to develop protocols that allow for crime victims to be informed and consulted about the release of 911 calls, crime scene photographs, video and other crime scene information.

“All states should examine their procedures for the release of 911 calls to allow victims to be consulted, and their privacy and safety protected,” said Mai Fernandez, Executive Director of the National Center for Victims of Crime. “These protocols should allow  victims to present their views directly to the decision making body, such as a court or commission.”
 

“For the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, today’s public release of the 911 emergency calls is yet another instance where they feel forced to re-live the trauma and loss of last December,” she said.

“The process by which crime scene information is routinely released is often ad hoc. Victims feel that their privacy is being violated by a one-sided process over which they have very little – if any – say, or control,” she said.

“These feelings of loss of privacy and control are compounded in cases – like Sandy Hook – where victims are denied a  trial by the suicide or death of the perpetrator,” she said. “A trial process would at least have subjected the release of these traumatic communications to the formal processes of the court.”
 
Absent this court procedure, victims need a clear and predictable release process that officials can be held accountable for. Options such as releasing redacted versions of calls, or allowing for media scrutiny without publication should be available.
 
As well as exposing a person at their most traumatized and vulnerable, the routine release of these calls can enable public voyeurism and the exploitation of victims by media outlets looking to draw consumers. These calls can also contain private information that may endanger a victim or their family.
 
Like homicide scene photographs, audio recordings from crime scenes do contain important evidence and information about which the public has an interest to know. But there is a fine balance to be drawn between a legitimate public interest and the privacy and safety of victims. Crime victims and their families have a legitimate interest in being heard on these fine judgments.
 
The state of Connecticut recognized the need for victims to be treated with fairness and respect within the criminal justice process when it passed its victims’ rights amendment to the state constitution. The National Center believes that it was right for State’s Attorney Stephen Sedensky to call for scrutiny of the decision to release the calls, and for this decision to be examined by a court. He was also correct to draw attention to the fact that a crime scene involving children warrants special scrutiny.