5 Ways Assembly Bill 218 Offers New Hope to Childhood Sexual Assault Victims

Under a new California law, Bill 218, victims of child sexual assault now have more time to report allegations of abuse and file a lawsuit against their abuser.

If you or a loved one have been a victim of childhood sexual assault, this new law represents an opportunity for broader justice, even if the abuse occurred decades ago. Specifically, victims of childhood sexual assault in California may benefit from the protections of Bill 218 in the following ways:

1. Greater Opportunity for Justice

With the passing of AB 218, victims of childhood sexual abuse, including abuse at the hands of clergy, will have a greater opportunity to seek justice and hold perpetrators accountable.

2. Broader Accountability

The bill will hold perpetrators more accountable, specifically leaders within the Roman Catholic Church (priests, nuns, and others) and the Boy Scouts of America.

Winer, Burritt & Tillis partner, John Winer was quoted by the Daily Journal stating that “Since the bill passed in the Senate…we’ve gotten a great increase of cases, particularly against the clergy” and  “People that were molested as children [are] coming forward now.”

3. Victims May File Claims Until Age 40 or Within 5 Years of the Discovery of Damages.

Previously, California allowed victims to file claims until the age of 26. AB 218 extends that limit to age 40, or within five years of the time it is discovered that they suffered damages as a result of the assault, whichever comes later.

4. Definition of “Victim” Broadened.

The new law allows a broader class of victims to file a claim against a perpetrator by changing the terminology in the law from “child sexual abuse” to “child sexual assault”.

5. All Victims Whose Claims Would Have Been Time Barred Have 3 Years to File a Claim.

Victims of childhood sexual assault are often not prepared to come forward and report allegations against their abusers until they are in their 40s or 50s. Historically, this has caused many victims’ claims to be time barred, as the statute of limitations to file a claim against a perpetrator passed years, or even decades, before.

Victim advocate and partner John Winer also told the Daily Journal , “one of the main causes of people coming forward is they have their own children and that child reaches the same age that they were when they were molested.”

Under Bill 218, all victims­­, regardless of age, have an opportunity to bring forth a claim against their abusers within the next three years.

An Advocate You Can Trust

If you or a loved one have been a victim of child sexual assault in the State of California, you have a right to seek justice. Winer, Burritt & Tillis, LLP, is a California-based law firm that has made a commitment to helping survivors of child sexual assault. If you are wronged, we will make it right.

Our team of experienced and knowledgeable victim attorneys invites any survivor who believes he or she may be ready to seek accountability through the California legal process to call us at (800) 652-6137 or visit us online to schedule a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation with a member of our team.