Child sexual abuse victims win legislative victories

At least 35 states considered legislation related to the issue.
Maryland Gov. Wes Moore signs a bill to end the state’s statute of limitations for when lawsuits can be filed against institutions for child sexual abuse during a ceremony on Tuesday, April 11, 2023, in Annapolis, Md. Senate President Bill Ferguson is seated left, and House Speaker Adrienne Jones is seated right. Standing from right are Del. Luke Clippinger, Sen. Will Smith and Del. C.T. Wilson, the bill’s House sponsor who is standing behind the governor. (AP Photo/Brian Witte)

Victims of childhood sexual abuse have won the right to sue their alleged abusers in civil court under a wave of new legislation that supporters say provides an avenue for justice for those who have suffered for years, or even decades.

At least 35 states have considered or are considering legislation related to the victims of childhood sexual abuse. In 16 states, legislators have introduced bills to eliminate criminal statutes of limitations for the perpetrators of abuse. In 23 states, lawmakers have introduced bills to eliminate or extend the civil statute of limitations.

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