May 24 2016
Washington—The Senate today passed the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, a bill that includes a provision authored by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) to extend the statute of limitations for minor victims of sex crimes, including sex abuse and child pornography, to age 28 or 10 years after the offense occurs. The current limit is age 21 or 10 years after the offense occurs.
“It often takes years for victims of child sexual abuse to come forward,” said Senator Feinstein. “They’re traumatized, they feel alone. They often don’t understand what happened to them. To bar these survivors from seeking justice when they’re ready to disclose that they have been victimized and face their abusers is wrong. Extending the statute of limitations is the right thing to do.”
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.
In addition, the bill extends programs that assist states in managing sex offenders, as well as U.S. Marshals Service efforts to apprehend these individuals. The bill also protects the rights of sexual assault victims by clarifying that they are entitled to forensic exams at no charge, as well as the results and the preservation of those results.