Governor Abbott recently signed a law that gives victims of child sexual abuse more time to sue their abusers in civil court.
The law doubles the statute of limitations on these types of cases.
Kris 6 news reporter Emily Hamilton spoke to local experts who describe this as a major win.
Advocates for sexual assault victims are calling this new law a victory for people dealing with the lifelong effects of this type of child abuse.
Kellie Addison from the Purple Door says, “We’re talking about sexual violence. we’re talking about the whole spectrum. and there’s not as much blame or guilt and shame that survivors are feeling around that.”
Formerly, people who were sexually abused before the age of 18 only had 15 years to sue their alleged abusers in civil court to hold them accountable for things like medical fees and counseling services.
“and that therapy and those bills alone can cost up to 115 dollars a session.” Sharra Rodriguez from Crime Victims Assistance says.
Now victims have 30 years to sue their alleged abusers for compensation. Advocates say the new law gives victims double the window of time to begin their healing process.
“It’s very rare when we see people have the courage to come forward and say they were sexually assaulted,” Rodriguez says, and that could be ten, fifteen, thirty years later.”
Directors at the purple door, our local women’s shelter, say there are several reasons victims of childhood sexual abuse often don’t come forward for years.
“but that doesn’t mean that that survivor’s voice or experience is invaluable,” Addison says, “that they shouldn’t be believed and that they shouldn’t have the opportunity to hold that offender accountable.”
This new law was signed by Governor Abbott on June 14 and goes into effect on September 1.