Following the success of states such as New York, New Jersey, and California, lawmakers in Arkansas have passed a new law that will help survivors of child sexual abuse expose predators and find healing and accountability.
The law, which goes into effect in February 2022, does two very important things. The first is that survivors now have until age 55 to use the civil courts to seek justice for child sexual abuse. Since the average age of disclosure is 52, this opens the courthouse doors for many who have been denied their right to justice.
The new law goes one step further, however. Survivors who are over 55 or whose civil rights have expired will now have a two-year period of time—from February 1, 2022 to January 31, 2024—to come forward and use the civil courts for justice and accountability.
Like the other states that have opened these “retroactive civil windows,” Arkansas’s law extends to survivors in both public and private institutions, as well as the government-run organizations. That means that all survivors—whether they were abused in the home, the Boy Scouts, public schools, or the Catholic Church—have the ability to expose the people who hurt them, as well as the people or institutions responsible for covering up the abuse.
- Now survivors in Arkansas have more time to pursue justice and healing.
- Now predators and those who protect them in Arkansas are on notice: sex crimes against children will no longer be brushed aside.
- Now children across Arkansas will now be safer from abuse.
Making the decision to come forward and seek justice can be a difficult one. We understand that survivors need time to consider their options and decide what is best for them and their individual healing journeys.
If you would like more information about Arkansas’s new law, please seek legal counsel. Talk to an attorney who specializes in helping survivors of child sexual abuse. Help is available.