Sexual assault is a criminal offense that haunts many victims to date. A high number of victims are more likely to only disclose the crime to a close friend rather than report to the authorities. However, with groups such as the #MeToo movement voicing the concern about the abuses, several states are starting to listen. Around the country, several states are passing new laws that allow sexual assault victims to come forward and seek justice.
On February 14, 2019, the state of New York signed into law the Child Victims Act that grants the victims of sexual assault as minors more time until they are 28 years old to report the crime. The victims as well have until they are 55 years of age to sue the perpetrators and negligent institutions responsible for the crime. Initially, the age limit for such cases was 23 years.
The state of Illinois as well joined the list of other states in eliminating any Statute of Limitations on sex crimes. It allows for the prosecution of a criminal with sexual assault charges to start at any time. Initially, the trial would only take place within ten years of the offense. However, the victim was required to report the crime within three years.
New laws such as the Child’s Victim Act of New York provide the victims with the ability to pursue civil lawsuits. Cases in civil courts only have to establish that the abuse more likely than not occurred. Even though the suits may be very costly both in finance and time, the Child Victim Act may allow the victims to be believed, enabling them to heal from their past traumas.