Statute of Limitations in Illinois Sexual Abuse Cases

Arlington Heights Illinois Attorneys Representing Victims of Sexual Abuse

When crafting legislation regarding the statute of limitations to assert either criminal or civil lawsuits for particular offenses, most legislative bodies will evaluate a number of factors including the nature of the offense or conduct involved, whether or not there are issues of fraud or deceit, and the overall seriousness of the crime involved. When it comes to the crimes or civil liability involving conduct related to sexual abuse, legislatures will attempt to expand the applicable statute of limitations to provide the most flexible, broad, and generous form of legal relief possible.

In fact, recognizing that many victims in sexual abuse cases are not able from a mental or psychological perspective to come forward until later on in life, and respecting the immense courage and challenges in this regard, the legislature of Illinois along with the Governor in 2013, signed into law the removal of all relevant applicable statute of limitations with respect to sexual abuse cases. This includes not only statutes of limitations related to asserting criminal charges against an alleged sexual abuser by a victim, but also civil liability claims against such perpetrators. Prior to the passage of this new law, the statute of limitations was twenty (20) years to assert either criminal or civil claims against an alleged sexual abuse perpetrator.

The removal of such statutes of limitations represents a clear victory for sexual assault and abuse victims and their advocates, who have for years been attempting to articulate that such cases are unique and distinct. Such adverse conduct may occur when the victim was a minor and may not at the time fully understand the circumstances of his or her abuse, and as such, not be able to discern, recall, or actually remember the specific details of such abuse until later on in life.

From a personal civil liability perspective, this means that victims of alleged sexual abuse do not have to worry if and when to assert a civil lawsuit against their perpetrators, but rather can do so at a point in time when they are personally able and ready to do so. Unlike other legal claims, the applicable and relevant statute of limitations begins to run at the time such legal injury or harm occurs, and lapses at the end of the statutory period, wherein if a particular plaintiff fails to assert such lawsuit in such relevant period of time, then the plaintiff loses all legal claims against the defendant.

If you or someone you love are a victim of sexual abuse, you need a seasoned civil and personal injury attorney on your side to help you evaluate and seek recovery for such issues. Civil liability cases involving sexual abuse are by their very nature unique and can be complex with serious emotional and personal damages. Call or email the Newland & Newland Law Firm today for a complimentary consultation to see how we can help you.

  • Newland & Newland LLP, Attorneys, Arlington Heights, IL
  • Lawyer.com