California’s Code of Civil Procedure § 340.1 which defines child sexual abuse, has been in the process to change this past year. Not everyone can get justice when they come forward under its current restrictions. However, more victims of child sexual assault will be able to find justice if these changes under Assembly Bill 218 pass.
Statute of limitations
The current statute of limitations for victims of child sexual abuse to be able to get legal justice is: 8 years after they have turned 18 or 3 years after they have discovered injuries caused by the assault. This is a very small window in which someone can come forward and receive legal help. The proposed change is 22 years after the victim of child sexual abuse has turned 18 and 5 years after discovered injuries. This would allow for victims who were previously limited by the 8 and 3 year limit to come forward and have their cases received.
However, if the child sexual assault was found to be hidden or “covered up” by anyone that had knowledge of the assualt, there is no statute of limitations for the victim. They are free to come forward without a time limit.
If the bill is updated, for the first 3 years after it is passed, there will be no statute of limitations for any case involved in child sexual assault. This will compensate for cases that were dismissed because of the limitations they were under by the previous CCP § 340.1.
Child sexual assault defined
Children, under the age of 18, may be victims of child sexual assault if:
- Someone is an accomplice to a lewd or lascivious act on a child.
- Someone involves a child in incest.
- A person participates in anal sex with a child.
- Someone acts sexually on a child using violence, threats, or fear of danger or injury onto the victim or someone else.
- An adult performs oral sex with a child.
- A person commits a lewd or lascivious act on a child.
- A caretaker commits a lewd or lascivious acts onto a dependent child.
- Annoying or molesting a child.
- Someone displays an inappropriate interest in children or believes someone is a child and has sexual intentions.
- A person proposes any kind of sexual conduct to a child.
Child sexual assault has many definitions under the law. However, if it passes, AB-218 will extend that definition. The statute of limitations will be extending as well. It is important to know this information when you are considering fighting for yourself in a court of law. If you have any other questions or want more information, feel free to contact us.