Child sexual abuse is more widespread than you might imagine. According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, 20% of adult females and up to 10% of adult males have experienced at least one incident of sexual assault in childhood. But many victims lose the opportunity to file claims because the deadline to pursue action has passed.
Fortunately, recently passed legislation opens the door for survivors of child sex abuse in Maryland to file civil actions for abuse that occurred while they were minors. The Child Victims Act of 2023 eliminates Maryland’s statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse claims, allowing adult survivors to finally pursue the justice they deserve.
Keep reading to learn more about this law and the importance of hiring an experienced institutional sex abuse attorney to oversee your case.
What is the Child Victims Act of 2023 in Maryland?
Passed in October 2023, the Maryland Child Victims Act removes previous time limits that prevented child abuse survivors from filing civil lawsuits. Now, they can sue their abusers—and the organizations that enabled them—at any time.
The law contains other key changes that survivors should be aware of. It removes the cap on economic damages and punitive damages and increases the maximum liability for claims against private agencies, entities, and institutions for pain, suffering, and other non-economic damages to $1.5 million.
What Prompted These Changes?
The Maryland Child Victims Act of 2023 arrives on the heels of a scathing, 400-page report from the Attorney General detailing systemic child sexual abuse at the hands of the clergy of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
But many of these crimes go unreported because victims are afraid of the repercussions, or they fear they won’t be believed. For some, it takes decades to process their trauma and find the courage to speak out.
And the church is just one of multiple institutions forced to respond to claims of systemic child sexual abuse. Juvenile detention centers and other residential facilities in Maryland are also facing civil lawsuits for past sex crimes.
In October, 2023, the Rhine Law Firm along with three other local firms joined together to file a series of lawsuits on behalf of more than 50 survivors under the Maryland Child Victims Act. And if other states are any indication, more cases are expected to be filed in the days and months to come.
For example, when the State of California instituted a two-year lookback window for abuse victims to file claims, more than 600 lawsuits were filed during that time. In New York State, close to 11,000 lawsuits were filed during the state’s lookback period from 2019-2021.
How Does the Child Victims Act of 2023 Help Abuse Survivors in Maryland?
It’s not easy to speak out about sexual assault, whenever it occurred. Many adults wrestle with the emotional, mental, and physical effects of abuse and hesitate to report it. If you experienced sexual abuse as a child, you do not have to worry that your time to seek justice will run out.
In the past, victims who were abused before the age of 18 had limited time to file retroactive civil claims. The previous statute of limitations gave survivors up until the age of 38 to file a civil claim for child sexual abuse. Lifting time restrictions on these cases allows survivors to finally be vindicated after living with the physical and emotional scars of abuse for far too long.
The law also increases potential damages for plaintiffs filing civil suits against individuals and institutions. A settlement or jury award cannot take away your pain, or hold offenders criminally accountable, but monetary damages are an effective way to hold these parties accountable for abuse they should and could have stopped.
Possible Damages for Maryland Child Sex Abuse Cases
Maryland sex abuse attorneys with Rhine Law Firm are committed to helping survivors speak their truth and holding institutions accountable so many years later.
If you were abused as a child and win your civil claim, the Maryland courts may award the following types of damages:
It’s important to remember that every claim is unique. Schedule a consultation with our team to discuss your situation and learn about your rights and remedies under the law.
Contact Our Child Sexual Abuse Lawyers Today
Rhine Law Firm Maryland sex abuse attorneys believe and support victims. That is why we are leading the charge to hold juvenile detention centers, schools, churches, and other organizations who harbor abusers accountable under the Maryland Child Victims Act.
We have the experience, skill, and determination to hold these once esteemed institutions responsible for the abuse they overlooked. You don’t have to sweep your experience under the rug another day. We shine the light on sexual violence and use every legal resource available to reach a good outcome for you. If we cannot resolve your case through mediation, we are fully prepared to take your case to trial.
Call 888-383-8019 or complete an online intake form to schedule a free consultation today. We represent clients across Maryland and the nation. For additional information, please visit www.marylandabuseattorneys.com
Cases We Pursue
If you are considering filing a civil lawsuit against a sexual abuser, you should speak with a childhood sexual abuse lawyer to discuss your rights. The compassionate legal team at Rhine Law Firm, P.C. are dedicated to the representation of victims of child sexual abuse and molestation. For a free and confidential consultation with experienced attorneys, call (910) 772-9960 today.
Rhine Law Firm Difference
Why Choose Us?
Contact our Firm
We’re Here for You When It Really Matters
"*" indicates required fields