Maryland Gov. Wes Moore recently signed into law the Child Victims Act of 2023, which eliminates the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse cases. This transformative legislation now allows survivors to file civil lawsuits at any time, regardless of when the abuse occurred.
Maryland now joins more than two dozen states that have repealed their statutes of limitations for child sex abuse claims, giving survivors a new opportunity to seek legal action for the trauma they have endured. Previously, limitations determined when survivors could file civil suits, often leaving them without avenues for justice. This new legislation, which goes into effect October 1, 2023, breaks these barriers, ushering in an era of limitless potential for survivors.
How Does the Child Victims Act of 2023 Affect the Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse?
The Child Victims Act of 2023 has completely eliminated the statute of limitations for sexual abuse cases in Maryland. The previous time limit allowed survivors to file a claim until their 38th birthday. Survivors of child sexual abuse can now file civil lawsuits at any time.
This critical change allows survivors to seek justice and hold perpetrators accountable, removing the time barriers that previously prevented them from pursuing legal recourse. Removing the statute of limitations is a significant shift toward recognizing and addressing the long-lasting effects of child sexual abuse.
As the 16th state to enact such legislation, Maryland joins a growing movement toward empowering survivors and providing them with an opportunity for justice. By removing the previous time limits, the Child Victims Act of 2023 signifies a monumental victory for survivors, enabling them to seek accountability and legal recourse without constraint.
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What Other Changes Does the Child Victims Act of 2023 Include?
The Child Victims Act of 2023 substantially changes the legal framework surrounding child sexual abuse cases in Maryland.
In addition to removing all statutes of limitations for civil lawsuits related to child sexual abuse cases in the state, the measure also:
- Increases damages cap. The Act raises the statutory cap on civil damages for child sexual abuse. Public school boards and government entities have an $890,000 cap, while private institutions, including independent schools, have a cap of $1.5 million per abuse incident.
- Facilitates civil lawsuits. The Act simplifies survivors’ process of filing civil lawsuits, eliminating obstacles that previously prevented them from seeking justice.
These provisions signify a significant step forward in Maryland’s commitment to addressing child sexual abuse and supporting survivors in their journey toward healing and seeking legal redress.
What Are the Benefits of the Child Victims Act of 2023?
The Child Victims Act of 2023 brings forth significant benefits for survivors of child sexual abuse in Maryland. Some key advantages include:
- Expanded legal options. By eliminating the statute of limitations, the Act allows survivors to seek justice at any time, regardless of how much time has passed since the abuse occurred.
- Empowerment and validation. The Act acknowledges the long-lasting impact of child sexual abuse by recognizing survivors’ experiences as valid and significant.
The Child Victims Act stands as a beacon of hope, granting survivors of child sexual abuse the opportunity to pursue legal remedies and find closure.
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Legal Rights and Options Under the Child Victims Act of 2023
The Child Victims Act of 2023 grants survivors of child sexual abuse important rights and legal options for seeking justice. If you are a survivor previously barred by the statute of limitations, you have the right to seek legal action against the perpetrator and any liable parties through civil lawsuits.
The Act allows survivors to seek compensation for the harm they have endured. This may include economic and non-economic damages, such as:
- Medical expenses: This includes the costs associated with medical treatments, doctor visits, medications, hospital stays, and any other medical services.
- Therapy costs: This covers the expenses related to therapy and counseling sessions to address the emotional and psychological effects of the abuse.
- Pain and suffering: This category accounts for losses involving emotional distress, psychological trauma, and pain experienced due to the abuse.
- Lost income: If you lost income directly from the abuse, this category covers the affected income and/or earning capacity.
The Child Victims Act of 2023 recognizes the financial, emotional, and physical toll of abuse, allowing survivors to pursue compensation for the losses they have experienced.
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What Steps Can Survivors Take to Seek Justice Under the Child Victims Act of 2023?
If you or someone you know is living with the trauma of child sexual abuse, seeking justice is a deeply personal and courageous decision. You are not alone in this journey, and supportive resources are available. Prioritize your well-being and seek the emotional support you need.
Reach out to trusted individuals who can provide a safe and understanding space for you to share your experiences. Organizations that help child sexual abuse survivors can also offer invaluable guidance and a network of individuals who can empathize with your situation.
We Help Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse – Call Us Today
When you feel ready, consider contacting an attorney who handles child sexual abuse cases. With years of experience handling clergy sexual abuse cases, our team at Jenner Law understands the sensitivity needed to navigate the legal process. Our attorneys will explain the rights and legal options you have for justice. Contact us today for a free consultation.