DENVER (CBS4) – Five years after Colorado eliminated the statute of limitations for criminal cases involving sexual assaults involving children, state lawmakers are considering doing the same for all civil sex assault cases.
The bill, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Jessie Danielson and Republican Sen. Don Corum, passed its first committee Wednesday unanimously.
Right now, survivors have six years to bring a civil suit against their abuser. For children, the clock begins when they turn 18.
Raana Simmons, Executive Director of The Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault says, on average, survivors who are assaulted as children, don’t disclose the abuse until they’re 56 years old and, by then, medical bills have piled up and the statute of limitations has expired.
“The statute of limitations is an arbitrary timeline that prevents access to the single system that provides the monetary relief necessary to recover from trauma. Just as trauma has no limit neither should access to the civil legal system,” said Simmons.
Simmons says sexual violence is one of most costly of all crimes. Most survivors, she says, spend thousands of dollars on treatment and therapy. Eliminating the statute of limitations, she says, would shift those costs from survivors to perpetrators.
Colorado’s constitution doesn’t allow laws that are retroactive so this would be for all cases after January of next year.