Opinion: Why lawmakers should reform law to help child victims of sexual abuse

Colorado Sun

June 20, 2020

By Mark Crawford

I read with great disappointment the failure of Colorado state lawmakers to once again take action which would have granted access to our legal system for child victims of sexual abuse.

It was right for victims and advocates to pull support from House Bill 1296, eliminating the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse only going forward. The bill as proposed, failed to address the needs of past child sexual abuse victims.

Some legislators expressed concerns any retroactive provision would violate the Colorado constitution. The lawmakers could have advanced two separate bills simultaneously if they feared a “look back” provision of the bill would later be ruled unconstitutional by the courts.

Many other states have in fact passed such “look back” provisions that have survived constitutional challenges. I do understand laws differ from state to state, but where there is a will, there is a way!

Mental health professionals have told us one in four girls and one in six boys will be the victim of unwanted sexual contact by the age of 18. The average age a child of sexual abuse reports such crimes is 52 years of age. Astonishing facts, some may ask, why did these child victims wait so long?

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.