How does Assembly Bill 218 work?
The California State legislature has passed the long-overdue Assembly Bill 218. Once signed by the Governor, AB 218 will greatly extend California’s statute of limitations for child sexual abuse claims and will even allow some survivors to revive old civil claims based on child sex abuse.
Assembly Bill 218 extends the civil statute of limitations on child sexual abuse claims, as well as opening a “window” or “lookback” period. The civil statute of limitations is now extended until an abuse survivor turns 40 years of age, or for five years after the survivor learns or reasonably should have discovered that childhood sexual assault caused the survivor psychological or other injury, whichever is later. Until the bill is signed, the statute of limitations runs when a survivor turns 26 years old, or three years after the survivor learns that sexual abuse caused the survivor injuries.
The extension of the civil statute of limitations will allow survivors to seek justice and compensation from organizations that allowed the abuse to happen — which will pressure these organizations to make changes that protect kids. This measure will help victims heal and make kids in California safer in the future.
How does the “window” or “lookback” period work?
Assembly Bill 218 will also open a three-year window, starting on January 1, 2020, during which civil lawsuits for child sexual abuse that occurred in California may be filed without regard to statutes of limitations. Once the window is open, any civil claims where the statute of limitations has already passed (meaning the survivor is now older than 40 years old) cannot be dismissed on the basis of the statute of limitations. In other words, after AB 218 becomes law, survivors of child sexual abuse who are currently not able to file lawsuits because of the statute of limitations will be able to do so during the three-year window.
I am a survivor of sexual abuse that occurred in California – what should I do now that the Assembly Bill 218 looks like it will become law?
Assembly Bill 218 represents a long-awaited opportunity for people in California who were sexually victimized as children to pursue justice. If you are a survivor of child sexual abuse in California, you should contact a lawyer who specializes in cases involving child sexual abuse to learn more about #AB218.