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In a groundbreaking move for victims of child sexual abuse, Arizona has taken significant steps to reform the statute of limitations for survivors. This reform is creating new opportunities for healing, justice, and accountability. On May 27, 2019, Governor Doug Ducey signed into law Arizona’s victims’ rights bill, HB2466, resulting in the passing of ARS § 12-514. This new law offers renewed hope and a path to justice for survivors.

Arizona’s New Law: Addressing the Need for Change

A critical aspect of this new law was opening a one-time window suspending the statute of limitations for all claims. This allowed many survivors who were abused decades ago to file previously time-barred suits alleging child sexual abuse.

The Arizona victims’ rights bill includes the following key provisions:

  • Extended Age Limit: The age limit to bring a claim against a perpetrator has been extended by 12 years, from the current age of 20 to the new age of 30.
  • Temporary Filing Window: A temporary window was opened for survivors older than 30 to file civil claims against their perpetrators and the institutions that knew or had actual notice of misconduct that created an unreasonable risk of sexual abuse, regardless of when the abuse occurred.
  • Closing of Temporary Window: This temporary window closed on December 31, 2020, for survivors 30 years of age and older.

The Difference It Makes for Survivors

Governor Ducey stated, “We cannot overstate the pain and trauma suffered by victims of child sexual abuse. We know victims need time to process and understand what happened. They deserve the time to come forward.”

Recovering from sexual assault or abuse often takes years before the victim can come forward. Even after the physical damage has healed, a survivor’s mental scars may persist for a lifetime. Before this bill was passed, the statute of limitations was generally two years from the child’s 18th birthday. This limited the time to file a lawsuit against a sexual predator or the organization that employed or enabled that predator. This left many victims without recourse as they grew older. Now, survivors have more time to seek justice.

Holding Institutions Accountable

A troubling fact concerns how some institutions, businesses, and organizations have knowingly allowed abusers to continue working within their ranks, especially with children. If such an entity fails to take common-sense preventative measures, it may be found negligent. This negligence can make the institution or employer legally responsible for the harm to the child, in addition to the perpetrator.

Without enablers, abusers often would not have access to their victims. They wouldn’t have the credibility and trust gained through their employment. This trust frequently makes such abuse possible. The law permits employers to be held accountable if they fail to conduct basic background checks on employees who work with children or allow dangerous employees to remain in their positions.

Why It Is Important to Reach Out

If you were a victim of sexual abuse as a minor, it is vitally important that you reach out to us right away. There are many reasons to act promptly:

  • Witnesses tend to forget facts over time
  • Records can be destroyed
  • Entities may go out of business

If you wonder if Arizona’s new law will revive your claim, contact us for a free consultation. Your information will remain completely confidential.

Compassionate Legal Support

At Fielding Law, we are dedicated to fighting for justice and ensuring that survivors have the support and representation they need. Reach out to us today at 833.88.SHARK to learn more about your rights and options. We are here to guide you every step of the way, providing the compassionate and capable assistance you deserve.

Note: Information provided is for educational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. Always consult with a qualified attorney for legal concerns.