Washington—The Senate Judiciary Committee today advanced a bill to reauthorize the Adam Walsh Act, which includes a provision authored by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) to extend the civil statute of limitations for minor victims of sex crimes, including sex abuse and child pornography, to age 28.
Under current law, victims must file suit against their abusers within 10 years of the offense or by age 21. Cases filed later are dismissed, even though many victims do not come forward about their abuse until later in life.
“It often takes years for victims of child sexual abuse to come forward,” said Senator Feinstein. “They’re traumatized, they feel alone, they may not fully understand what happened to them. To prevent these victims from seeking justice when they’re ready to come forward is wrong. Extending the statute of limitations by seven years is the right thing to do to support young victims.”
The policy change is supported by the National Crime Victim Law Institute, National Organization for Victims Assistance, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, Stop the Silence and Lauren’s Kids.
The Adam Walsh Act, signed into law in 2006, created a federal program to help state and local authorities manage sex offenders. It also provided additional funds to the U.S. Marshals Service to locate and apprehend these criminals.