Statute of Limitations: Amy’s Testimony

Amy is a longtime supporter of ChicagoCAC and a survivor of abuse. At the time that she was abused, child advocacy centers like ours did not exist, and she was not provided the support and opportunity for justice that children today receive. This is the testimony that she submitted in support of removing the statute of limitations, based on her experiences attempting to report abuse.

Good afternoon members of the committee. My name is Amy. Thank you for allowing me to share my personal story of sexual abuse, as I believe it will offer insight into the importance of supporting Senate Bill 189. While the story of my abuse is difficult for me share, I am grateful for the opportunity to finally utilize my voice to protect other children from experiencing the horror that I experienced as a child, and the pain that I continue to suffer as an adult.

I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and currently reside on Chicago’s north side. I was sexually abused for eight consecutive years by an adult neighbor who was a trusted family friend and pillar of the community. The abuse began when I was only 5 years old and occurred on a nearly daily basis until I was 9 years old. At that time, my family moved, and the abuse occurred less frequently. My abuser was bold, calculated and unrelenting in his power to manipulate me. He groomed me by offering me cookies, saying kind words and playing touching games to gain my trust. He silenced me by manipulating me into believing that the abuse was our special secret. At the age of 13, the abuse ended when I finally disclosed to my parents. Fortunately, my parents believed me and supported me throughout my journey of healing. While I was relieved that the abuse had ended and was grateful that I was finally safe for the first time in my life, I was haunted by the knowledge that my perpetrator was, undoubtedly, abusing other children.

While I was relieved that the abuse had ended and was grateful that I was finally safe for the first time in my life, I was haunted by the knowledge that my perpetrator was, undoubtedly, abusing other children.

When I approached my parents about reporting the abuse, they were fearful of traumatizing me further and made the decision that it was best that I not report to the police. While I respected my parent’s decision, in my heart, I knew I could not remain silent forever. I was fully aware that I was not my perpetrator’s only or last victim. For the next several years, the guilt of not reporting weighed heavily on me. I worried that my continued silence was allowing this sick, dangerous man to abuse other children. In my early twenties, I finally summoned the courage to report the abuse to the police. Unfortunately, my voice was silenced when shortly after I arrived at the police station, an officer informed me that the statute of limitations had expired and there was no legal action that could be taken against my abuser. Learning that I missed the deadline to seek justice against my abuser was devastating. I felt helpless, depressed and angry that the law protected perpetrators and not children. Once again I was the victim, powerless to my abuser.

I felt helpless, depressed and angry that the law protected perpetrators and not children. Once again I was the victim, powerless to my abuser.

Since my late teens, I have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety. I have spent more than half of my life and thousands of dollars every year participating in various forms of therapeutic services focused on trauma and recovery. The abuse has impacted all aspects of my life, including my relationships. While I have made significant progress in my healing, I continue to struggle with immeasurable emotional pain from the years of horror my abuser inflicted upon me. I mourn for the child that I was prior to the abuse and the innocence that was stolen from me when I was only 5 years old.

The laws regarding the statute of limitations on sexual abuse in Illinois played a detrimental role in my story. For the last 30 years, I have had to live with the pain and guilt that other children most likely suffered the same abuse that I experienced as a child because a law was in place that protected my perpetrator.

I am here today to ask you to reform the current statute of limitations to allow victims the time they require to come forward to seek justice.

I am here today to ask you to reform the current statute of limitations to allow victims the time they require to come forward to seek justice. I disclosed my abuse at an early age and was fortunate that my parents believed me and supported me both emotionally and financially. Despite this, I was still too late to seek justice in our system. Many survivors do not disclose this early, as they do not have the support and resources that I had. I have never understood why, when there is no statute of limitations for murder, there is a statute of limitations for sexual crimes. My abuser murdered part of my soul. Please prevent this heinous crime from happening to other innocent children. Vote yes to Senate Bill 189. The clock should never run out on reporting child sexual abuse.


Thank you to Amy for sharing her powerful testimony and for all of her efforts to support victims and survivors of child sexual abuse. Visit our Statute of Limitations Advocacy Action page to help us pass this important legislation.  

Amy is a longtime supporter of ChicagoCAC and a survivor of abuse. At the time that she was abused, child advocacy centers like ours did not exist, and she was not provided the support and opportunity for justice… Read More

Advocacy Action: Statute of Limitations

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There is currently a bill in the Illinois legislature, SB189, that would remove the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse, ensuring that time never runs out for victims of abuse to seek justice – and helping protect our community from known perpetrators. We need your help to ensure it passes! 

On March 7, SB189 passed out of committee and is moving to the Illinois Senate for a full vote. But we still need sponsors in the senate! Please contact your state senator to ask for their sponsorship of this bill and their commitment to pass it through the legislature. Your support will help give a voice to victims of child sexual abuse in Chicago and throughout the state! 

For additional information, see ChicagoCAC’s position statement on the statute of limitations.

Contact Your Senator

  1. Find your state senator’s contact information here.
  2. Determine whether your senator sponsors the bill by viewing the sponsors at the top of this page.
  3. Contact your senator to thank them for sponsoring OR to ask them to do so.

If your senator sponsors the bill

Click the button below to send them our template email thanking them for their support and encouraging their collaboration with colleagues to get this legislation passed. Be sure to add in their names in the “dear” field, and fill in your mailing address at the bottom.

Having trouble? Download this Word document to copy/paste the sample emails.

If your senator does NOT sponsor the bill

Click the button below to send them our template email asking them to make victims of child sexual abuse a priority. Again, be sure to add in their names in the “dear” field, and fill in your mailing address at the bottom.

Having trouble? Download this Word document to copy/paste the sample emails.

Or call your legislators using this script:

I’m [YOUR NAME], a constituent of [SENATOR]. I am calling to ask [SENATOR] to support Senate Bill 189, which would remove the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse. As a constituent, I am passionate about ensuring that the 1 in 10 children who are victims of sexual abuse have the opportunity to seek justice – no matter when they come forward. I urge [SENATOR] to work with colleagues to pass this important legislation. Thank you.


Get ChicagoCAC’s advocacy actions right to your inbox by subscribing to our alerts. Visit our signup page and check the “Advocacy” box.


Thank you for helping ensure victims of child sexual abuse can seek justice! Please help us spread the word by sharing this page with your networks! 

Questions? Contact Melissa Siemasz: (312) 492-3760 or MSiemasz@ChicagoCAC.org

ChicagoCAC E-advocacy Header - SB189

There is currently a bill in the Illinois legislature, SB189, that would remove the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse, ensuring that time never runs out for victims of abuse to seek justice – and helping protect… Read More

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Statute of Limitations in Illinois

There’s a lot of confusion around the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse in Illinois. Here’s what the law states as of January 1, 2014:

  • There is no statute of limitations for criminal cases of child sexual abuse, provided there is physical evidence of the abuse, or if a mandated reporter knowingly failed to report the abuse.
  • If there is not physical evidence or a mandated reporter did not fail to make a report, the case can be prosecuted within 20 years of the victim’s 18th birthday.
  • Misdemeanor criminal child sexual abuse may be prosecuted within 10 years of the victim’s 18th birthday.

Now, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is working to give victims even more time to come forward and seek justice. She is calling for the complete removal of the statute of limitations for sexual abuse crimes against children, as well as felony criminal sexual assault.

ChicagoCAC is in full support of removing these qualifiers to the statute of limitations, clearing the way for all victims to have a chance at justice by reporting abuse to law enforcement. We know that more than 90% of sexual abuse is perpetrated by someone the victim knows personally, and many victims delay disclosure because of that violation of trust, the shame of being victimized and the fear that reporting will only cause further pain.

We know survivors who have garnered the courage to finally come forward to report their abuse, only to be told at the police station that officers cannot accept the report – they may not even be able to write it down. This legal issue is a serious setback for victims’ healing, it keeps survivors silent, and it stops law enforcement from preventing further abuse by these perpetrators.

At the end of the day, removing the statute of limitations means justice for victims, and it means protecting children from future abuse by known perpetrators.

There’s a lot of confusion around the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse in Illinois. Here’s what the law states as of January 1, 2014: There is no statute of limitations for criminal cases of child sexual… Read More

Advocacy action: Help improve DCFS investigations involving children with disabilities

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Representative Patricia Bellock (R-Westmont) introduced House Bill 5643 (HB5643) to improve DCFS investigations involving children with disabilities. Rep. Bullock consulted with ChicagoCAC and our Coalition Against Sexual Abuse of Children with Disabilities (CASACD) to ensure the bill moves Illinois in the right direction to provide best practice services for children with disabilities who have been abused or neglected.

HB5643 amends the Illinois Children and Family Services Act and would create the Enhanced Services for Children with Disabilities Task Force to examine and review the Department of Children & Family Services’ protocols and procedures for interviewing children with disabilities who are victims of abuse or neglect.

Please contact your state representative and senator now to help improve child protective investigations for some of our most vulnerable children. Please hurry – the deadline for public comment is Friday, April 15! 

Take action

First, find your state senator’s and representative’s contact information here. Then click the button below to send them our template email. Be sure to add in their names in the “dear” field, and fill in your mailing address at the bottom.

Having trouble? Copy and paste this message into the body of an email:

Dear [LEGISLATOR],

I’m writing to ask you to support House Bill 5643, the DCFS Enhanced Services Task Force bill. As your constituent, I am passionate about ensuring that all children – and especially children with disabilities – receive the best care in the aftermath of abuse or neglect.

HB5643 would amend the Children and Family Services Act to create the Enhanced Services for Children with Disabilities Task Force, which will example and review the Department of Children & Family Services’ protocols and procedures for interviewing children with disabilities who are victims of abuse and neglect.

I urge you to work with Rep. Patricia Bellock and your colleagues to move HB5643 forward for a hearing, so that children with disabilities who are involved in a child abuse investigation have access to the protection, services and care they need.

It is the duty and responsibility of the State of Illinois to provide all necessary services to protect abused children, and we have an added responsibility to ensure that children with disabilities – who are three to five times more likely to be abused – receive the care that meets their needs.

Thank you for your swift action to protect children in Illinois.

Sincerely,
[YOUR NAME] [YOUR ADDRES] [YOUR CITY, STATE & ZIP]

Or call your legislators using this script:

I’m [YOUR NAME], a constituent of [LEGISLATOR]. I am calling to ask [LEGISLATOR] to support House Bill 5643, which would create a task force to examine and review the DCFS protocols and procedures for interviewing children with disabilities who are victims of abuse or neglect. As a constituent, I am passionate about providing the best services and care for children who have been abused, and we have an added responsibility to ensure that children with disabilities have services that meet their needs. I urge [LEGISLATOR] to work with [his/her] colleagues in the General Assembly to pass this important legislation. Thank you.

Thank you for making a difference for children and families! Help us spread the word by sharing this page with your networks! 

Questions? Contact Trevor Peterson: (312) 492-3728 or TPeterson@ChicagoCAC.org

A bill to improve the state’s response to abuse of children with disabilities was recently introduced in the Illinois House of Representatives. Please take a moment now to contact your legislators and ensure children with disabilities get the services they need – we make it easy!

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Advocacy Action

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The current Illinois budget crisis puts ChicagoCAC and the other 38 child advocacy centers in Illinois in serious jeopardy. Please help the children we serve by contacting your legislator now – we make it easy!  Read More

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ChicagoCAC at Hill Day

ChicagoCAC Staff in DCChicagoCAC Staff with Rep. Kelly

Executive Director Char Rivette, Senior Director of Clinical Services Jan Waters and our PATHH Partner Stephen Budde met with Congresswoman Robin Kelly and Congressman Bobby L. Rush as part of National Children’s Alliance’s Hill Day. Talking with legislators about our mental health and other programs helps demonstrate the need for trauma-informed services for children and families healing from abuse.

ChicagoCAC Staff with Rep. Kelly

Executive Director Char Rivette, Senior Director of Clinical Services Jan Waters and our PATHH Partner Stephen Budde met with Congresswoman Robin Kelly and Congressman Bobby L. Rush as part of National Children’s Alliance’s Hill Day. Talking with legislators… Read More

ChicagoCAC at Hill Day

Char at Hill DayChicagoCAC Executive Director Char Rivette is in Washington, D.C., this week with representatives from centers across Illinois and the country as part of National Children’s Alliance’s Hill Days. They’re meeting with legislators to talk about the importance of federal support for centers, so we can best serve the children and families who need us.

Char at Hill Day

ChicagoCAC Executive Director Char Rivette is in Washington, D.C., this week with representatives from centers across Illinois and the country as part of National Children’s Alliance’s Hill Days. They’re meeting with legislators to talk about the importance of