Survivors of childhood sexual abuse have won a small victory in Kansas as lawmakers have agreed to lengthen the deadline for filing a civil lawsuit, known as the statute of limitations, from 3 years to 13 years. This change has been pushed for by survivors of childhood sexual assault in Kansas for many years. Find out what this new law means for child sexual abuse survivors in the state.
Kansas’ Statutes of Limitations on Childhood Sexual Abuse Claims Increased by 10 Years
It is well-established and documented that survivors of childhood sexual abuse and sexual trauma often find it extremely difficult to come forward and speak out about their experiences. Some victims block it out entirely, only to discover it years (sometimes decades) later. Statistics show that only about 38 percent of child victims disclose the fact that they have been sexually abused. For this reason, many states have been increasing their statutes of limitations to allow child sex abuse victims more time to file.
Kansas is the latest state to extend its statute of limitations. House Bill 2127 was approved on Monday, April 24, by Governor Laura Kelly. This bill bumped the current statute of limitations of 3 years from the date that the child sexual abuse survivor turns 18 to 13 years, effectively giving survivors until age 31 instead of 21 to bring sexual abuse claims. This bill also added child sexual abuse to the list of crimes in Kansas that can be criminally prosecuted at any time, meaning there is no longer a criminal statute of limitations on child sexual abuse perpetrators.
In addition, there is a three-year lookback period if a perpetrator is convicted of a crime. If the offender is convicted of a sex crime in Kansas, the victim can take civil action within three years of the conviction, no matter how long it has been since the incident. Although survivors advocating for the bill were pushing for it to include a window of time where people who were beyond their statute of limitations could file, this was not included in the final bill.
What Does Kansas’s New Statute of Limitations Mean for You?
If you are a child sexual abuse survivor who is currently under the age of 31, you may now be eligible to file a child sexual abuse lawsuit under the new law. This is true even if you were previously barred from filing from the prior statute of limitations. You may be able to hold the perpetrator as well as an institution responsible for your damages, depending on the circumstances.
It is common for a survivor to take legal action against an institution for sex crimes committed against children. Institutions such as schools, camps, churches, and Boys and Girls Clubs of America have a duty to protect the children in their care. If they fail in this duty, they can be held accountable for resultant crimes against children. This includes sex crimes or sexual abuse committed by their employees, volunteers, supervisors or managers. Holding an institution responsible can lead to greater financial compensation awarded to the survivor, as well as changes on an institutional level to protect future children.
Do You Have a Claim? Contact Us to Find Out
If you are curious as to whether you have grounds to file a lawsuit as a survivor of child sexual abuse under the new statute of limitations, contact DRZ Law to request a free consultation. Our case reviews are always completely confidential. We will listen to your story and believe you. Then, we will go over your potential legal options under the extended statute of limitations. If we believe your case has merit, we may offer to represent you during the claims process.
We are passionate about protecting the rights of child sexual abuse and assault survivors in Kansas. Call (913) 400-2033 today to get in touch with an attorney.