2021 Leg Session, Local, Uncategorized

Zouantcha: Legislature sides with victims of child sex assault

The Colorado legislature sided with victims of child sexual assault this month. After 30 years of trying to eliminate the statute of limitations for bringing a civil suit in sexual assault cases, the General Assembly finally accomplished it by passing Senate Bill 73.

For those who do not know, the statute of limitations is the time limit for filing suit against a defendant.

Currently, the statute of limitations for child sexual assault allows victims six years after they turn 18 to take any legal action against their abuser.

Senate Bill 73 states that anyone abused after January 1, 2022, has unlimited time to file a lawsuit against their abuser. It also states that any victim whose statute of limitations has not expired by January 1, 2022, now has unlimited time to take legal action.

The statute of limitations elimination only applies to felony and Class 1 misdemeanor cases. Representative Matt Soper explained that they narrowed the scope of the bill to ensure that the cruelest of abusers are included.

All that is left is Governor Jared Polis’s approval of the bill and he has assured everyone that it will undoubtedly get signed.

This bill is definitely a win. It sometimes takes years for children to share their sexual abuse with anyone. And sometimes by the time victims are ready to talk about it, the statute of limitations has passed and they can’t get justice. ChildUSA reported that the average age of disclosure for children who are abused is 52. So obviously there was a flaw in the law. Senate Bill 73 allows victims time to deal with the trauma they experienced before deciding if they want to take action or not. Hopefully, this bill encourages more victims to speak up about their assault since time is now on their side

Senate Bill 73 allows perpetrators to be held accountable. The U.S. Department of Justice reported that only 30% of child sexual assault cases are reported. That means there are many predators out there who do not get punished. With an unlimited amount of time to take action for the assault, maybe this will allow more child sex assault victims to seek justice from their abusers.

Child sexual assault is a lot more common than people realize. Watching your loved ones suffer through a pain that no one can fix is the worst thing ever. Even though the damaging experience or memories can’t be erased, it is a little comforting to know that action can be taken at any time.

Lesly Zouantcha is a development intern at the Independence Institute. She will graduate from the University of Maryland, College Park, next spring with a bachelor’s degree in information science.


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