Legal Analysts

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Biden Signs Bill Eliminating the Statute of Limitations on Civil Claims for Minor Victims of Federal Sex Crimes

On September 17, 2022, President Biden signed the Eliminating Limits to Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims Act of 2022

The Act completely eliminates the statute of limitations for minor victims to file a civil action for a number of federal sex offenses, including sex trafficking, forced labor, sexual abuse and child pornography. By amending Title 18 of the United States Code, the part that deals with federal crimes and criminal procedure, this Act removes all former time restrictions for specified offenses relating to minors.  

Previously, minor victims seeking to file federal civil claims for damages had until their 28th birthday, or until 10 years after the violation or injury was discovered. These restraints presented a substantial barrier for many victims, who often delay in reporting or taking legal action because of the time it takes to process their trauma. Now, the doors of justice are wide open for minor victims to pursue claims and hold their abusers accountable. 

Similar measures have been taken at the state level as well. For example, in New York, the Child Victims Act begins the statute of limitations for child sex abuse crimes when the child turns 23 for criminal proceedings, and the filing of a civil action before a toddler, pre-teen, or teenage victim’s 55th birthday. 

It's becoming clear that the law is evolving favorably for victims of abuse. Perhaps knowing that the law is on their side will provide survivors with the empowerment that they need to carry on.