A bill that would extend the amount of time survivors of childhood sexual abuse have to file a civil lawsuit is close to passage. The Rhode Island House is set to vote on legislation that would extend the statute of limitations on filing a civil suit from seven to thirty five years, or seven years from the moment at which a survivor realizes harm was caused.
A similar bill stalled last session, but sponsor Representative Carol Hagan McEntee said more than a year’s worth of national public scandals involving child sexual abuse, including within the Boy Scouts and the Catholic Church have created momentum for the bill.
“The public awareness and the need to fix this problem, to allow the victims and survivors their day in court, has become a public outcry,” said McEntee.
Advocates say the extension is necessary, as it can take years for survivors to feel comfortable enough to come forward. Similar legislation is working its way through the Senate.