Abuse and the Law: Is There a Statute of Limitations on Sexual Assault?
Every 73 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. What most people don’t realize is that the longer a sexual assault crime goes undocumented, the more difficult it is to get justice for the victim.
Continue reading to learn more about the statute of limitations on sexual assault
Statute of Limitations on Sexual Assault
The idea of the statute of limitations exists as an effort to minimize convictions that are based on witness testimonies because witness testimony may change over time. The statute of limitations is a set of laws preventing someone from being prosecuted for a crime after so much time has passed.
It used to be thought that once so much time has passed, memories of the past might not be accurate anymore.
Today, the evidence isn’t as fleeting as it once was. DNA doesn’t erode over time, so if it’s present the case is pretty solid. Audio and video recordings last forever. Emails, texts, and other forms of digital communications are easily saved for future use.
All of these things help to back up the facts of what happened even when years have passed.
Sexual assault covers a large range of crimes that involve sexual contact or behavior without the victim’s consent. The sexual assault might include attempted rape, fondling/unwanted sexual touching, forcing the victim to partake in sexual acts, and rape.
Society today is more understanding than it once was when it comes to the effect that sexual assault has on the victim. Sexual assault has lasting psychological, emotional, and even physical effects on the victim.
Statute of Limitations in the US
Society has become more aware of how sexual assault traumatizes the victim. Society now seems to understand why some people are so hesitant to come forward when in the past they didn’t. It was something that wasn’t talked about as much before.
Now there are movements that talk about it, including the MeToo Movement.
As a result of time changing how sexual assault is viewed, the laws have changed and they now vary from state to state. There is a database that explains the statute of limitations for every state.
Only seven of the United States do not have a statute of limitation laws: Wyoming, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, and South Carolina. More than half of the United States has a statute of limitations of more than 21 years.
Some states push for a reduced statute of limitations if the victim doesn’t report the crime: Washington, Utah, Colorado, Illinois, and Connecticut. More than half of the states will make an exception to the statute of limitations for DNA evidence.
You Can Get Justice for Sexual Assaults
If something like this has happened to you or to a loved one, you can hire a sexual abuse lawyer to help you with your case. Don’t hesitate to reach out today to get some legal advice.
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