Civil lawsuits for sexual assault, childhood abuse, and intimate partner violence can no longer be “prescribed” by time. What exactly does this mean?
There is no more deadline to sue in civil court for certain criminal acts
You cannot bring a civil lawsuit against (sue) the perpetrator of a crime after a certain amount of time. This deadline is called “prescription”. When we say that a crime cannot be prescribed, this means that there is no deadline to sue the person who committed the crime.
A new law was passed that eliminates the prescription deadline for sexual assault, childhood abuse, and intimate partner violence. You can now sue for monetary damages decades later.
However, if the perpetrator dies, there is a deadline to sue. You can sue the perpetrator’s estate for 3 years after their death. After that, the crime will be prescribed, and you won’t be able to sue.
There is no deadline to file a complaint with the police
You can always report a crime to the police even if many years have passed. However, it may be too late for the prosecution to file criminal charges. This is unchanged by the new law.
However, a victim can still sue the perpetrator of a crime. You do not need to report the crime to the police. It also doesn’t matter if the person who was accused of the crime was acquitted. In fact, criminal and civil trials are two distinct processes.