Legislation aims to get rid of statute of limitations for victims of child abuse

MARYLAND – Maryland legislators are trying to make it easier for victims of child sexual abuse. It’s a bill that’s already passed in the House of Representatives and is now in the Senate and it would get rid of a law that says victims have to file before the age of 38.

“What it can do is motivate people to do the right thing and punish an offender,” explains Wicomico County State’s Attorney Jamie Dykes.

House Bill 687 would completely change Maryland law by getting rid of the statute of limitations for victims of child abuse in civil court.

“It absolutely acknowledges that these crimes do happen that these victims are real people and to the extent that we as a society can make them whole, we should,” says Dykes.

Life Crisis Center Executive Director Abby Marsh says, “Maryland used to be considered one of the worst states regarding statutes of limitations for victims.”

Two years ago victims would have had until their 25th birthday to file a lawsuit. Under current law victims have until they’re 38-years-old, but if this bill passes victims will be able to file whenever they’re ready.

“This gives a little bit of hope for somebody that’s in their forties or even sixties that is willing to disclose,” explains Dykes.

Many say it’s a big step in the right direction and puts victims first by holding offenders accountable and giving victims another avenue to face their accuser.

“It is still making them actually have to face some consequences by being called into court potentially facing a monetary penalty, if you will for what they did the trauma that they caused for these young victims,” says Marsh.

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