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California's New AB 218: A Chance to Heal and Move On

This past October, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 218 into law. Assembly Bill 218 extends the time limit for childhood victims of sexual assault and abuse to seek justice and is something that was “long overdue,” according to Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez.

The bill will go into effect as of January 1, 2020, and will:

Under this new law, childhood victims will have until the age of 40 or five years from the date they discover their abuse to file a lawsuit and pursue compensation. This bill also imposes changes to the statute of limitations by providing a three-year time period to revive claims that would have otherwise been thrown out due to the current statute of limitations.

What Adult Victims of Childhood Abuse Should Know

There have been several recent movements, such as #MeToo and #TimesUp, that have shed light on the widespread crisis of sexual abuse and assault. Many people in positions of power have been exposed and punished for their heinous acts. From priests to A-list celebrities to the person next door, these empowering movements have shown our nation that anyone can commit these unspeakable crimes.

AB 218 will help ensure that victims have the resources they need to pursue justice for their childhood abuse. The main goal of this bill is to give victims additional time to come forward about their past abuse. As more victims are speaking out about their past, more are realizing that they have stayed silent for far too long.

Assemblywoman Gonzales stated in a recent interview,

“The idea that someone who is assaulted as a child can actually run out of time to report that abuse is outrageous. More and more, we’re hearing about people who were victims years ago but were not ready to come forward to tell their story until now. We shouldn’t be telling victims their time is up when, in reality, we need them to come forward to protect the community from future abuse.”

Changes AB 218 Will Bring

Currently, victims of sexual abuse have:

  • Until the age of 26 to come forward about their past abuse

  • Three years from the date of reasonable discovery to come forward about their past abuse

Once AB 218 goes into effect, victims of sexual abuse will have:

  • Until the age of 40 to come forward about their past abuse

  • Five years from the date of reasonable discovery to come forward about their past abuse

  • A three-year window to restore past claims that have expired due to the statute of limitations

AB 218 will also allow a court to award up to three times the compensation in the event that a child becomes a victim of sexual abuse or assault as the direct result of an effort to cover up previous assaults.

Don’t Wait for the Bill to Go Live

While these changes are undoubtedly steps in the right direction, it will take time for them to become law. The wheels of justice often turn slowly, and waiting until the bill goes into effect may be a mistake for your recovery.

It’s important to understand that sexual abuse lawsuits are typically very complex, and due to this, cannot be rushed. It may take time to build a strong case, and the longer you wait, the less time you have to do so.

If you’re an adult who was sexually abused as a child, it is imperative that you speak with a compassionate Oxnard sexual assault and abuse attorney to discuss your rights. At Crane Flores, our team of experienced attorneys has helped victims of sexual abuse and assault pursue the justice they deserve for decades.

You deserve to begin healing now; don’t wait any longer. Give us a call today (805) 628-4967 to schedule your free, confidential consultation.