Press Release | August 8, 2013
This afternoon, Governor Quinn signed a bill into law that eliminates the criminal statute of limitations for sex offenses that occurred when the victim was under 18 years old. The legislation is a significant victory for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse, many of whom take years to disclose the abuse.
“We are deeply grateful to the legislators who championed this change, which helps ensure that justice is possible for all victims of child sexual abuse,” said Char Rivette, executive director of Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center. “Moving forward, no survivor will finally gather the courage to report abuse, only to be told it’s too late to do anything.”
The majority of child abuse victims – 96 percent those served at ChicagoCAC – are abused by someone they know personally, such as a parent, close relative, family friend or other caregiver. Perpetrators’ familiarity with victims, as well as their additional manipulative tactics, are often among the factors that make it difficult for children to disclose the abuse.
“This bill sends an important message to the people of Illinois: survivors of sexual abuse need not be silent,” said Governor Quinn. “It’s imperative that we support justice for victims and keep kids safe by charging and prosecuting offenders.”
The bill removes the statute of limitations for child sex abuse that occurs on or after January 1, 2014. The legislation is not retroactive; survivors are subject to the law that was in place at the time of their abuse. Similar legislation, Senate Bill 1399, also passed this session, removing the civil statute of limitations for sex offenses that occurred when the victim was under 18 years old.
In addition to ChicagoCAC, proponents of the legislation included Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, Children’s Advocacy Centers of Illinois, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) and other victim advocacy organizations.