On Friday, August 11, 2017, Gov. Rauner signed a law eliminating the criminal statute of limitations for child sexual abuse. We applaud the survivors who stood up and spoke out to get the law changed. The new law recognizes the importance of taking child sexual abuse seriously and acknowledges that victims of child sexual abuse need more time to come forward.
Studies have long showed that victims of child sexual abuse are not able to come forward for years after the abuse. Often, victims are groomed by offenders who have a powerful hold on victims and their families. Other times, victims face symptoms of post-traumatic stress and try to suppress memories. We also know that the passage of time does not make it easier for survivors and does not provide relief from the psychological trauma of child sexual abuse.
The new law eliminates the prior statute of limitations which required that crimes be prosecuted within 20 years of the victim’s 18th birthday. This law will allow survivors to come forward and seek justice on their own time. It will also hold offenders accountable and make Illinois a safer place for children.