What is the Statute of Limitations on Institutional Sexual Abuse?
The statute of limitations is a legislative act that restricts the time in which legal action may occur after an occurrence that warrants legal proceedings. This type of law has been in place for thousands of years, dating back to Roman law.
All states place time limits on filing lawsuits or prosecuting crimes. These limits vary depending on the type of crime. For example, a criminal act may have a longer statute of limitations in comparison to a misdemeanor.
Understanding the statute of limitations as it applies to the crime you were a victim of can help you determine whether you have standing to file a lawsuit. In this post, we will be covering the statute of limitations as it pertains to institutional sexual abuse.
Institutional Sexual Abuse
Institutional sexual abuse is any form of sexual abuse that occurs within an organized institution. Examples of these institutions include, but are not limited to, healthcare or long-term care facilities. Other environments in which sexual abuse occurs lie within the walls of powerful institutions, such as religious organizations, universities, and amateur and professional sports teams.
If sexual abuse occurs at the hands of a trusted adult within a structured organization, such as a doctor or priest, contacting an attorney who is well versed in the sexual abuse legislation near you is highly recommended.
Statute of Limitations on Sexual Abuse in the United States
42 states have a statute of limitations on sexual abuse. The factors that play into each state’s statutes vary. It is important to understand all of the circumstances surrounding the abuse when determining the statute of limitations. Victims can use the following resources from RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, when deciding whether they should press charges.
Learn about the statute of limitations in:
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Statute of Limitations on Sexual Abuse in Illinois
Eight states in the US have removed the statute of limitations for sex crimes.
As of January 1, 2020, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker removed legislation that enforced the 10-year statute for prosecuting criminal sexual assaults. Therefore, prosecutors in Illinois no longer face a time limit on bringing charges for major sex offenses.
You must consult with an experienced trial lawyer to determine what the Statute of Limitations is for a potential civil court case against the your abuser, and the institutions which made the abuse possible. You should seek justice as soon as you are ready to do so, whether it be the day after the abuse or 15 years later.
Research shows that sexual abuse victims may feel powerless — their ability to seek justice on their terms is empowering.
In addition to the right to file a civil suit, Illinois has resources for victims of sex crimes, including those that have experienced institutional sexual abuse:
- Family Resources is a non-profit organization that helps victims of violent crimes, including but not limited to sexual abuse.
- The Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault offers a 24-hour crisis line.
What to Do If You’re a Victim of Institutional Sexual Abuse
If you or a loved one is a victim of institutional sexual abuse, you may find it helpful to discuss your options with a trusted attorney. The attorneys at Hurley McKenna & Mertz are ready to help abuse victims armed with ample experience and a history of achieving results, favoring the victims.
Our team understands the physical, mental and emotional burden that abuse places on victims. We vow to help you achieve justice.
Contact us today for a free consultation.