Is there a time limit for reporting sexual abuse of a child?

Get Legal Help Today

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Is there a time limit for reporting sexual abuse of a child?

When I was 14 I witnessed my best friend being raped by a neighbor. He payed her money after to keep quiet and she continued to go back to “clean his house” for money. We were both 14, the neighbor was in his late 30’s. Neither of us reported it or told anyone about it. Now I am 21 and deeply regret not reporting it. 7 years has passed so I am not sure what to do, but he still lives in that neighborhood (down the street from an elementary school). I would be absolutely devastated if he hurt another kid. Is there anything that I can do?

Asked on November 5, 2010 under Criminal Law, Arizona

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

First of all, the victim would have to be the one to pursue legal action here.  Under current AZ law, to sue a sexual abuser of a child, an adult survivor of that childhood sexual abuse must file that lawsuit by the time he or she turns the age of 20. The reason for this is that Arizona has a 2-year statute of limitations, but the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the child reaches the age of 18. 

There has been legislation introduced to eliminate this 2 year limitation period, but to date, I do not think it has been implemented into law.  You can check with a child rights advocacy group in your area to get further information.  And be aware, that if you accuse this person of sexual child abuse without proof, you could end up being sued for defamation.  But again, speak to an advocacy group to find out more that can possibly be done. I understand your concern.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption