New Jersey Extends Statute of Limitations for Victims of Sexual Abuse


New Jersey recently made it easier for victims of sexual abuse to file civil actions against their attackers. The recently-signed legislation extends the statute of limitations in civil actions to the victim’s age 55 or 7 years after the victims realize their abuse, whichever is later.

This dramatic increase from the prior 2-year civil actions statute of limitations means in particular that it will be easier for victims of child sexual abuse to accuse their attackers later in life, as they realize the crimes they have endured.

As reported by the Office of the Governor, in signing the legislation Governor Phil Murphy credited the work of not only its sponsors but also the “tireless efforts of survivors, advocates and organizations for over a decade.” The Governor further added that “Sexual assault and rape are crimes entirely unique and they should be treated as such, particularly when it involves children,” referencing the common suppression of childhood trauma. Therefore, these victims should not be held to the same legal limitations as victims of other crimes.

New Jersey joins New York and many other states which have expanded civil statute of limitations on sexual assaults or are considering similar measures. The very public #MeToo movement and the 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report on clergy sex abuse have triggered more states to reconsider their sexual abuse laws.

Two-Year Window Allows Those Who Are Still Out of Time a Chance To Make Civil Claims

The new law’s effective date is December 1, 2019. Those who have run out of time to make a civil claim, even with the new statute of limitations, have a two-year window beginning on that date to file a claim, regardless of when the sexual abuse occurred.

If you have experienced sexual abuse, we want to help. Our experienced attorneys have particular expertise in advocating on behalf of victims of sexual abuse, no matter where it occurs, as well as internet sex crimes. We are there throughout the criminal process and into a civil law suit.

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