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 Legislation Would Hold Child Sex Abusers and the Institutions that Facilitated Abuse Accountable

For Immediate Release
February 13, 2013

Contact: Darin Broton
             
Tunheim
              952.851.7286
              dbroton@tunheim.com

              Elizabeth Kitt
             
Tunheim
              952.851.7225
              ekitt@tunheim.com

 St. Paul, Minn. – A group of law enforcement officers and child sexual abuse victim advocate organizations today announced their support for legislation that would give victims new opportunities to seek justice against their abusers and the institutions that facilitated the abuse. The legislation, the Minnesota Child Victims Act, will be introduced in the Minnesota House and Senate later this week. 

The Minnesota Child Victims Act would make it easier for Minnesotans who were sexually abused as children to bring civil lawsuits against their abuser or the institution that facilitated the abuse. The legislation would remove the current statute of limitation that requires victims to file lawsuit within six years of becoming an adult. If the bill is passed into law, victims could file a lawsuit at any time no matter how long ago the abuse occurred.

 “Current state law treats child sexual abuse the same as fraud and product liability,” said Representative Steve Simon (DFL- St. Louis Park), author of the legislation in the Minnesota House. “Sexually abusing a child is a horrific crime and those who abuse children and the institutions that permit it need to be held accountable.” 

The legislation comes after a 2013 Adverse Child Experiences study by the Minnesota Department of Health showed 10 percent of Minnesotans were sexually abused as children. A recent survey by the National Center for the Victims of Crime indicated that one out of two Minnesotans know someone who was sexually abused as a child.

 “The Minnesota Child Victims Act removes barriers that prevent victims from coming forward and seeking justice,” said Senator Ron Latz (DFL-St. Louis Park), author of the legislation in the Minnesota Senate. “It sometimes takes decades for victims to confront the abuse, but current state law requires them to come forward before 24 years of age. Our legislation rightfully recognizes the healing process while holding abusers and institutions accountable.”

 The legislation is supported by numerous child abuse victim advocate organizations, including the National Center for Victims of Crime, Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Minnesota Alliance on Crime, Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center, National Child Protection Training Center, Stop Abuse Campaign and 1in6.

 “The sexual abuse of children is a public health epidemic,” said Jeff Dion, deputy executive director of the National Center for Victims of Crime. “Victims of child sexual abuse have an increased risk as adults of alcohol and substance abuse, eating disorders, posttraumatic stress and suicide.”

In addition to advocate organizations, the Minnesota Child Victims Act is supported by local law enforcement officials, including Kanabec County Attorney Amy Brosnahan, Dakota County Attorney Jim Backstrom, Carver County Attorney Mark Metz and Mower County Attorney Kristen Nelson. Kathleen Blatz, former Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, also supports the legislation.

 “Child Sexual Abuse is a crime shrouded in shame and secrecy,” said Blatz. “Nearly every state recognizes the unique nature of sex abuse and has special laws for holding accountable perpetrators and other responsible parties. Eliminating the civil statute of limitations will allow all victims to be heard and to seek justice.”

 Forty-one states recognize the unique nature of child sexual abuse cases and have separate statute of limitations for abuse lawsuits. California, Delaware and Hawaii are the only states that have allowed abuse cases with expired statute of limitations to move forward, but only gave victims a short window to file lawsuits. The Minnesota Child Victims Act would make Minnesota the only state to give victims the right to pursue civil lawsuits for expired cases without a time restriction.

 

About the National Center for Victims of Crime

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. Visit www.victimsofcrime.org for more information.

 

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