Expanded Statute of Limitations for Childhood Sexual Abuse Claims

By Corey Hanrahan

Prior to the passage of Assembly Bill 218 (“AB 218”), California law required a child sexual abuse victim to bring a claim before the victim turned 26 years of age. There was an additional three year “statutory-discovery rule,” though. That rule allowed a victim who reached the age of 26 years to still bring a claim within three years of the date the victim discovered or reasonably should have discovered the injury caused by the sexual abuse. That three year discovery rule, though, set forth stringent requirements that needed to be met to be applicable. 

“…[t]his means that childhood sexual abuse survivors now have until he/she turns 40 years of age to bring a claim [for childhood sexual abuse]. Second, it revived the statute of limitations on expired claims for a period of three years from January 1, 2020. This means that any childhood sexual abuse survivor has until January 1, 2023, to bring an action

Fortunately for survivors of childhood sexual abuse, California passed AB 218, which went into effect on January 1, 2020. AB 218 modified California Code of Civil Procedure section 340.1 in some very important ways. First, it created a new baseline statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse survivors, extending it from eight years after turning eighteen years of age, to twenty-two years of turning eighteen years of age. This means that childhood sexual abuse survivors now have until he/she turns 40 years of age to bring a claim. Second, it revived the statute of limitations on expired claims for a period of three years from January 1, 2020. This means that any childhood sexual abuse survivor has until January 1, 2023, to bring an action.

California law also addresses damages for sexual abuse survivors, and the all too common history of perpetrators covering up sexual assaults. California Code of Civil Procedure section 340.1 provides for recover of up to treble damages (three times the actual or compensatory damages) against a perpetrator who covered up the sexual assault of a minor. 

If you or anyone you know is a childhood sexual abuse survivor, please contact us at info@hanrahanfirm.com, or (619) 377-6522 to talk. We can analyze your claims and help you seek justice.