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Governor signs bill removing civil statute of limitations for sexual abuse survivors

Official Seal of the Office of Governor of California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Legislation authored by Assemblymember Dawn Addis and State Senator Nancy Skinner that removes the civil statute of limitations for minors who experienced sexual abuse was signed into law on Tuesday.

Assembly Bill 452 (AB 452) eliminates the time limit for the recovery of damages suffered as a result of childhood sexual assault for civil actions that arise on or after Jan. 1 of 2024.

“I’m grateful to Governor Newsom for his steadfast commitment to justice for survivors of child sexual assault,” said Assemblymember Addis. “With the Governor’s signing of AB 452, California has removed cruel and arbitrary barriers to healing and justice. While there is much more work to do, California has taken a critical step forward in letting survivors know that their voices matter regardless of when they come forward.”

Notably, this bill only applies to sexual assaults that occur on or after that Jan. 1, 2024, when the law takes effect.

Civil claims for sexual abuse before that date still fall under existing state law that prohibits filing on or after the survivor's 40th birthday or 22 years after the survivor attains the age of majority or within five years of the plaintiff discovering the impact of their experience.

“With the shame and secrecy that surround most incidents of childhood sexual assault and abuse, it can take decades for many survivors to confront their experience. Processing trauma and painful memories is complex and can’t be put on a timetable. That’s why I was proud to co-author AB 452 with Assemblymember Addis to end California’s arbitrary time limit for when survivors of childhood sexual assault can seek justice in court,” said State Senator Nancy Skinner. “With Governor Newsom’s signing of AB 452, going forward, children who suffer abuse will have no time limit for when they can hold to account those who abuse them and those who aid or allow the abuse to happen or cover it up.”

Article Topic Follows: California
AB 452
civil litigation
civil statute of limitations
sexual abuse

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Andrew Gillies

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