Child victims of sexual abuse in Pennsylvania only have a limited time to seek civil legal action against their abuser. The amount of time victims have to file a civil lawsuit could increase if a proposed bill is passed.
The proposed bill would increase the amount of time to file a civil lawsuit to 50 years, allowing childhood sexual abuse victims more time to take legal action. The bill would make the statute of limitations consistent for both criminal charges and civil claims.
Under current law, criminal charges can be filed until the childhood sex abuse victim is 50. However, civil lawsuits can only be filed until a childhood victim is 30. The bill would increase the statute of limitations to also 50 years.
Supporters of the bill say that it will give more abuse victims time to pursue civil claims. Many sex abuse victims take years or longer to tell anyone about their abuse. Supporters say this bill would help victims seek justice for everything they have been through.
The bill has been sent to the Judiciary Committee for review.
If the bill is passed, childhood sex abuse victims would have more time to file civil lawsuits. This would be a good change as victims of sex abuse often have a difficult time discussing their abuse, which can mean that once they finally do tell someone about what happened, they have run out of time to file a lawsuit.
Victims of sex abuse should understand their rights and speak to an attorney to explore all of their options.
Source: Philadelphia Magazine, “Bill Would Give Childhood Sex Abuse Victims 20 More Years to Sue,” Joel Mathis, April 7, 2015