NH Senate bills would end statute of limitations for sex assaults

Seacoast Online

CONCORD – State Sens. Martha Fuller Clark, D-Portsmouth, and Lou D’Allesandro, D-Manchester, on Tuesday introduced Senate Bills 98 and 164 before the Judiciary Committee. Both bills increase protections for sexual assault survivors by eliminating the statute of limitations in sexual assault cases.

“We need to do more in New Hampshire to ensure that survivors are given the resources they need to seek justice,” said Fuller Clark, prime sponsor of SB 98. “We don’t know when an individual who has been traumatized will feel comfortable coming forward. The timing of these charges should not be arbitrary. The damage inflicted by rape never truly goes away. My hope is that this legislation will give survivors the chance to seek damages regardless of how many years have passed.”

Current law imposes a six-year limitation on felony cases involving adult victims. In child sex abuse cases, prosecutors are given 22 years from the child’s 18th birthday to bring charges forward in criminal cases, and until the victim’s 30th birthday in civil cases. According to the New Hampshire Violence Against Women Survey, 41 percent of sexual assault crimes against women occur before they are 18 years old and 68 percent of sexual assault crimes against men occur before they are 18.

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