In a victory for victims of child abuse all over the United States, the Utah Legislature announced in March of 2015 that it will sign a bill into law effectively eliminating the statute of limitations in all cases of child sexual abuse. It is a well-known fact that undergoing the horrors of child abuse, whether it was physical, mental or sexual, leads to lasting and enduring issues for victims.
Feelings of guilt, anger and shame can be almost impossible to overcome, for children as well as adults. This new law will hopefully give victims of child sexual abuse the time they need to heal before launching long, and occasionally extremely public, lawsuits against their abusers.
Young child abuse victims, especially those victims of the FLDS Church, will now have a chance for their voices to be heard. Every child in Utah, and in our great nation, has a right to a safe, healthy life free from sexual abuse from an adult. If an adult, hiding behind religion or some other excuse, sexually abuses a child, then they should be held accountable.
It is difficult for child victims to deal with the sexual abuse they have experienced. This sometimes results in an inability or aversion to sharing their experiences in a court of law. This stigma has allowed far too many perpetrators of violence against minors to go unpunished. Utah’s previous statute of limitations on cases of child sexual abuse allowed plaintiffs to bring a case to trial only if it was filed within four years of their 18th birthday.
Re-living the abuse suffered as a minor, let alone sharing the gruesome details with a court full of strangers, is difficult for anyone, especially a young adult between the ages of 18 and 22. In fact, the new bill’s floor sponsor, Senator Aaron Osmond, stated that most children who endure sexual abuse are not able to deal with the experience until after age 40.
This new law will hopefully encourage many more victims of child sexual abuse that were not able to speak out about their experience before, to come forward and seek justice against their abuser. Perpetrators of sexual abuse can now be held responsible for incidents of abuse that may have happened many years in the past. Tragically, Senator Osmond estimated that in Utah, 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday.
With help from the Utah community, legal professionals and the law enforcement system, many victims that may not have been able to come forward previously will now have legal recourse to seek the justice they deserve. As fellow bill sponsor State Representative Ken Ivory stated during the proceedings: “someone that victimizes a child should never be able to hide behind time – ever.”
At Nix Patterson & Roach, Child Sexual Abuse law firm, we applaud Utah lawmakers for taking this step towards allowing victims of child sexual abuse to properly heal and grow before becoming embroiled in complex lawsuits.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of sexual abuse as a child, your sole focus should be on your full recovery, both physically and mentally. Let the experienced, compassionate attorneys of Nix Patterson & Roach deal with the complicated legal matters that accompany these types of cases.
Attorney Neil Smith works closely with many child victims helping protect their rights. Call us today at 1-800-220-1088 to receive a FREE, confidential consultation with an experienced Child Sexual Abuse attorney. Let us provide the answers you seek so that you can focus on the healing process.
Adults that victimize and abuse minors must be held accountable and brought to justice for their actions. Trust Nix Patterson & Roach to provide the legal help you need.