How Will California’s Assembly Bill 218 Affect the Victims of Childhood Sexual Assault?
Introduced in January of 2019, California’s new Assembly Bill 218 aims to empower childhood sexual assault victims by extending their statue of limitations for filing civil lawsuits. This would allow many people who were previously unable to sue the perpetrator, or the organization responsible for failing to prevent the sexual abuse, to pursue civil claims to recover for their injuries.
What is Assembly Bill 218?
On January 16, 2019 in Sacramento, California, California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez presented Assembly Bill 218, which addresses the statute of limitations that childhood sexual assault victims have in which to take action against their abuser. The existing law allows up to eight (8) years after the victim turns of legal age, or three (3) years from the time of assault for the victim to file. Assembly Bill 218 serves to extend the time a childhood sexual assault victim has to file against their abuser. The bill would extend the time so the victim could file until the age of 40, and up to five (5) years after the assault occurs.
What is the Purpose of Assembly Bill 218?
The purpose of Assembly Bill 218 is to enable childhood sexual assault victims so as they can have the legal power to find their justice. Reporting any kind of sexual assault at any age for anyone can be extremely difficult. The embarrassment, perceived shame, and the weight of what will happen to the abuser once it is reported are all things that have statistically shown to alter the victim’s choice to report any assault at all or to delay in reporting the abuse. Particularly within churches, sports teams and after school interest-based groups, it is becoming clear that the habit of preying on children is something that has been happening for years, and it is only now that victims are feeling confident enough to come forward. This bill will be particularly important for childhood victims, since traumas during childhood have been proven to take longer to work through and have a lasting impact on adult life. The importance of Assembly Bill 218 is clear here: In extending the statute of limitations for childhood victims, it would enable the victims to heal for longer and still leave the option of pursuing civil claims open to them.
The state of New York recently passed a similar statute that extended the period of time for filing civil lawsuits on child sexual abuse cases. The newly enacted law in New York has resulted in hundreds on lawsuits being filed, including numerous allegations against the Boy Scouts of America for failing to prevent or stop child sexual abuse of its Scouts.
What are My Next Steps?
With each case being different and sensitive, it is important to have a law firm that understands the situation and genuinely cares. If you or someone you know is a childhood sexual assault victim, please do not hesitate to contact us at Bonjour, Thorman, Burns and Dahm, where we will be sure to prioritize you, and how we may assist you to the nth degree. Our caring firm will help you and your family through the entirety of the process, ensuring that we can help you with everything and any legal assistance you would require.
Our Lawyers would Fight for You
Sexual assault charges are taken very seriously. Depending on if the assault is classified as a misdemeanor or felony, the punishments will vary. However, both will include a heavy fine, and a minimum jail sentence.
The lawyers at Bonjour, Thorman, Burns and Dahm have a thorough understanding of California sexual assault laws and take these cases extremely seriously. Your case would receive our full attention, and we will do everything within our power to help you find your peace, and your justice. If you believe that we could be of assistance to you, please feel free to contact us at any of our three locations or visit us in our office.
Contact us at Bonjour, Thorman, Burns & Dahms for a free initial consultation.