Patricia Teffenhart & Marissa Marzano | December 1, 2019 | Star-Ledger |
In the two years since #MeToo went viral, the common refrain has been: “Survivors and victims of sexual violence should come forward and report what’s happened to them.”
As the leaders of the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault, we of course agree with this sentiment. But that statement assumes a level playing field for survivors, when the truth is that our justice system is too often not very just.
But in those two years, we’ve been able to make incredible strides toward creating systems that serve survivors more holistically. One of the most important changes we’ve made goes into effect today, Sunday, December 1, as the expansion of our state’s civil statute of limitations for sexual assault takes effect. Expanded access and pathways to justice is one of the most important things we work for at the Coalition. Today, that pathway to justice gets a little more open and a little more fair for everyone.
Starting today, victims who experience sexual assault have seven years to file civil claims against the person who harmed them or the institution that harbored them. Notably, adult survivors of child sexual abuse have until age 55 or seven years – whichever is later. This is a huge expansion from the Garden State’s previous civil statute, which only afforded survivors two years regardless of when the victimization occurred.
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