One of our physicians, Dr. Anne Marie Woodward, has been working on a Colorado bill to eliminate to statute of limitations in civil cases of sexual assault. The Women’s Health Group is a proud sponsors of this Bill. The following is a description of some of the benefits of the Bill.
Just as healing from the impact of trauma has no timeline, no expiration date, neither should a victim’s chance at seeking accountability through the courts. Survivors of sexual assault need time. Traumatic experiences often bring about neurobiological changes that impact memory — many survivors cannot remember or communicate all the details of a sexual assault initially. Survivors need time to gather the strength, courage, and support necessary to report the sexual assault and to participate fully in the court process. This Bill, allows child and adult survivors of sexual assault time to heal so that they may access the civil legal system when they are best able to engage without further traumatization.
More children will be able to receive the medical and mental health care they need to recover from sexual abuse trauma without being forced into litigation. This Bill includes a provision that parents can recover damages on behalf of a child who has experienced sexual abuse to pay for the medical and mental health care costs associated with the child receiving the help they need to recover from trauma. The current statute of limitations forces a child sexual abuse survivor to participate in a court process before they are developmentally ready to do so in order to recover damages. Given this choice, parents frequently select not to file a claim because they do not want to subject their child to the risk of experiencing further trauma and re-victimization through litigation.
If you would like to join us in supporting this Bill, please call your legislators.