Lauren: Hi, I’m Lauren Davis. I’m an attorney at Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. I’m here with my fellow attorney, Kelly Magnuson, and we’re talking about the Adult Survivors Act today. It goes into effect in November of 2022, and it allows survivors of sexual abuse who were adults at the time of the abuse to come forward and seek justice for what happened to them.
Kelly: So, the act helps individuals who are now able to seek justice through filing civil lawsuits against perpetrators who committed sexual crimes against them. Without the act, the statute of Limitations is short, and people are often not able to process what happened to them or find the courage to come forward to bring a lawsuit until sometimes many years later. The legislature realized that fact, and they have created this statute so that people who are now able to bring a claim, that they might not emotionally have been able to bring five years ago, can come forward through this one-year look-back period.
Lauren: So, the look-back window runs from November 24th, 2022, until November 23rd, 2023 for which they can file a civil lawsuit against their perpetrator.
Kelly: So, the new law is very broad and it covers a wide range of civil actions that may be possible. For instance, it will cover claims for someone who was assaulted say at college by a professor, or someone who worked at a school, as long as they were over the age of 18 when the act happened, it’s covered under the law. Similarly, it will cover employees who were harmed at work. And the act is broad enough that we’re not just talking about rape and sexual acts, we’re also talking about unwanted touching. So, for instance, an employee who was touched in a way that they did not want to be touched by a supervisor or co-worker, the act would cover their claims too.
The claims that will be brought will be civil claims. So, they will be seeking monetary compensation for the damage, the emotional distress, and perhaps other types of damages that people have suffered at the hands of the abuser. These claims will be brought in Civil Court, they may even possibly be brought anonymously, and there will be the chance to recover damages against someone who caused you harm.
Lauren: This is a really personal decision to come forward. Nobody can make this decision for you, but honestly, this is your chance. This is your opportunity to be heard, maybe even heal in some ways moving through the process. You know, something happened to you a really long time ago, or maybe even not that long ago, maybe recently, and you never came forward, never even looked into what the Statute of Limitations was to handle it. This is the time. You can make this first step. Martin, Harding & Mazzotti is the right choice. We have represented many clients over the years since the Child Victims Act was passed, representing clients who were abused as children. And we had the expertise to handle the cases, and the sensitivity to help clients work through the process.