OLYMPIA — Representative Farivar, D- Seattle, recently introduced House Bill 1618 removing the statute of limitations for survivors who want to sue for childhood sexual abuse in civil court. The legislation comes at a time of renewed attention for transparency in reporting abuse and protecting children from sex crimes.
Under current law, survivors face limits on access to justice due to a timeline that isn’t in step with the time needed to process trauma. Research demonstrates that trauma significantly increases the length of time it takes survivors, especially children, to pursue justice and HB 1618 is reflective of that.
“This bill recognizes that recovery from child sex abuse isn’t linear,” said Rep. Farivar. “Sexual abuse is already underreported, so it is incredibly important to empower survivors with the tools to hold predators accountable”.
This law will better help identify hidden sexual predators, shift the costs of abuse away from victims and taxpayers to the perpetrators, and educate the public about the prevalence and impacts of this abuse. In addition, it saves Washington taxpayers tens of millions of dollars in health care costs, productivity losses, child welfare costs, violence/crime costs, special education costs, and suicide death costs.
HB 1618 cleared a major legislative milestone on February 22nd, when it passed the House Appropriations Committee. At the hearing, brave survivors came forward to share their experiences seeking justice for childhood sexual abuse. It now heads to the House Rules Committee.