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Around the country, state legislatures are voting to change sexual assault statute of limitations, which are the time limits someone has to report crimes to the police, or file a civil lawsuit. Survivors of child sexual assault are especially prejudiced by statute of limitation laws, because many survivors do not come forward until they are adults.

California is the most recent state to extend state laws allowing survivors of child sexual assault to file a civil lawsuit. Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law that allows survivors until the age of 40 to file a lawsuit. The new law, Assembly Bill 218, also grants a 3-year window for anyone currently outside the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit. Previously, survivors had to file within “eight years of reaching adulthood” or three years after the survivor “discovers or reasonably should have discovered” they suffered damages, whichever came later.

Governor Newsom also extended the statute of limitations specifically for survivors of sexual abuse perpetrated by a physician at a student health center between 1988 and 2017, in response to over 750 women who have come forward stating they were assaulted by former USC campus gynecologist George Tyndall.

Reformation nationwide is sorely needed in this area of the law to enhance transparency, accountability, and child safety. Sadly, there are countless examples of why, including the well-known and documented abuse perpetrated by Catholic clergy members and the shockingly widespread abuse perpetrated by former Olympic doctor Larry Nassar.

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