(Sacramento, CA) – Today, the California Legislature passed legislation that will give child sexual abuse survivors a chance at justice and healing denied to them for so long if signed into law. The legislation—California Assembly Bill 218—is now on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk. We strongly encourage him to sign this vital legislation into law.
We applaud the Legislature for passing this historic bill. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez deserves credit for tirelessly sponsoring and guiding the legislation. She is a champion for children.
This bill provides a three-year window for sexual abuse survivors to bring lawsuits in cases that were previously barred by the statute of limitations, no matter when the abuse occurred. Aside from the window, the bill also changes the statute of limitations and raises the age limit to file a sexual abuse lawsuit from 26 to 40, or within five years of the date a survivor discovers the psychological injury or illness caused by the abuse (whichever comes later). The law goes into effect on January 1, 2020, if signed by the governor.
There should be no statute of limitations for sexual abuse/assault. It often takes survivors decades to be able to come forward. But this bill is a great improvement and gives survivors a real chance to take back power that was stolen from them as children and begin to heal. And through lawsuits, institutions that protected perpetrators are often ordered to disclose information and secret documents about the perpetrators and how they were protected. This results in greater transparency and public safety.
Survivors are on the verge of a new day in California. We stand with them.