Lorena Gonzalez Bill to Empower Childhood Sexual Assault Survivors Reaches the Governor’s Desk
SACRAMENTO – (Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019) – Survivors of childhood sexual assault would have more time to report an assault and pursue justice thanks to Assembly Bill 218, authored by California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego). The measure passed the State Legislature today after a 62-0 concurrence vote in the Assembly.
“The idea that someone who is assaulted as a child can actually run out of time to report that abuse is outrageous,” Assemblywoman Gonzalez said. “More and more, we’re hearing about people who were victims years ago but were not ready to come forward to tell their story until now. We shouldn’t be telling victims their time is up when in reality we need them to come forward to protect the community from future abuse.”
Under existing law, a survivor must file a lawsuit within eight years of reaching adulthood or within three years of the date a survivor who has reached adulthood “discovers or reasonably should have discovered” they suffered damages as a result of the assault, whichever comes later. AB 218 would expand both the statute of limitations for the time given to victims of childhood sexual assault, from age 26 to age 40, and the period for delayed reasonable discovery from three to five years.
After enactment, the measure would also allow for a window of three years for the revival of past claims that might have expired due to the statute of limitations.
In cases where a child becomes a victim of sexual assault as the result of an effort to cover up past assaults, AB 218 will allow a court to award recovery of up to treble damages from the defendant who engaged in the cover up.