Expanding limits on child sexual abuse civil suits would give survivors a chance at justice (MLive)
The statute of limitations on child abuse cases in Michigan is ranked as one of the worst in the nation. However, forthcoming legislation would broaden the law to help ensure perpetrators and the institutions that protect them are held accountable.
Currently, the law only allows for victims of child sexual abuse to pursue civil cases until they reach the age of 28, or three years from “the date the individual discovers, or through the exercise of reasonable diligence should have discovered, both the individual’s injury and the causal relationship between the injury and the criminal sexual conduct”— which ever is later.
Elizabeth Abdnour, a Lansing attorney for the McAllister Olivarius firm with a background in child sexual abuse cases, said most children don’t come forward because they were abused by somebody trusted by themselves or their families. Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows this is true 91% of the time.
“As a child, I mean, really how are you supposed to come forward if the person abusing you is your caretaker or your classroom teacher or your best friend’s dad or your Girl Scout troop leader?” Abdnour said. “As an adult, we have the ability to do things that kids just don’t.”