Welcome to the National Center for Victims of Crime

We are the nation's leading resource and advocacy organization for crime victims and those who serve them. Please join us as we forge a national commitment to help victims of crime rebuild their lives.


Add your name to a list of supporters for the Child Victim Act!

Click HERE to join thousands of concerned citizens ensuring justice does not expire!

I am a Survivor

If you are a survivor of Child Sex Abuse and are willing to share your story with advocates, legislators, committees, or media, please let us know. 

All responses are strictly confidential and can include only the information you feel comfortable sharing.

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Child Victims Act in California

California Governor Jerry Brown Vetoed SB 131

Read the National Center for Victims of Crime's Statement on Jerry Brown's Veto of the Child Victims Act (SB 131)

Overview of SB 131, the California Child Victims Act


In 2002, recognizing that it can take decades before victims of child sex abuse can come forward, or even recognize how they have been harmed, California amended the civil statute of limitations with a two-prong approach to give victims an opportunity for  justice. Under a "delayed discovery" provision, victims could file suit within three years of when they discover that their current injury or condition was causally related to the childhood sex abuse. For victims who had previously made their causal connection or whose statute of limitations had otherwise expired, the legislature created a one-year "window" in which victims could file a civil suit without regard to the statute of limitations.

The Quarry bothers were sexually abused in the 1970's, but did they did not recognize how they were harmed by the abuse until the late 2000's. They filed suit within three years of making the causal connection.  In 2012, the California Supreme Court ruled that the delayed discovery provision did not apply to the Quarrys because the language of the statute was not explicitly retroactive.  Consequently, their statute of limitations expired when the civil window closed  in 2003.  In effect, the court ruled that the law required them to file suit before they even knew they had been harmed.

SB 131, the California Child Victims Act, will do three things:

  1. It will make retroactive the delayed discovery provisions of 340.1 to comply with California Supreme Court decision in the Quarry case.

  1. It will provide a limited, one year, civil window to provide an opportunity for justice to those victims who were previously excluded by the technical defect of 340.1.

  1. 340.1 requires a victim suing a third-party to allege in his or her initial pleading specific proof that the defendant had notice of the sexual abuse.  The proof of this knowledge is usually documented in the defendant’s own files.  SB 131 would allow the parties to conduct discovery before the court could rule on a motion to dismiss for failure to allege proof of notice.
Not all silence is golden. Child Victims Act



Sign the Petition to Support the Child Victims Act

Become a part of the national movement to protect children and hold abusers and those who harbor them accountable. 

This One Minute petition will help victims of child sexual abuse of all ages.


Senator Jim Beall (Democrat) District: 15

Where is this Bill?

Senate Bill 131: Track this bill

Read the Child Victims Act

Key States Currently Considering the Child Victim Act

For more information on reforming statutes of limitation for child sex abuse and efforts in other states, please visit one of our advocacy partners at www.SOL-Reform.com

Vote Smart

  • Find contact information for your elected representatives and let them know you support the Child Victim Act!
  • Track your elected official's record.

Need Help?

If you are victim or adult survivor seeking assistance, please refer to our Connect Directory for a full listing of organizations that can provide help. 

The Problem

The sexual abuse of children is a public health epidemic in the United States. Recent child sex abuse cases at Penn State University, the release of documents concerning sexual abuse and the Boy Scouts and consistent reports of abuse within California institutions such as Miramonte Elementary School are recent examples.

Research has shown that as many as one in four women and one in five men suffered abuse as a child and that almost 90% of abuse never gets reported.  Those that do come forward find themselves barred by the legal technicality of a statute of limitation. Considering how long victims often take to find the courage to speak out, statutes of limitation are woefully short and act as an arbitrary barrier to justice.

News Coverage of the California Child Victims Act

All news

Making the Case for Victims

At the age of 18, Anne M was a victim of the notorious ‘East Side’ rapist who terrorized a New York City neighborhood—and raped 12 women---during the 1990s.

As her case wound through the criminal justice system, she felt victimized all over again. But it wasn’t until she learned she could pursue justice for herself through the civil courts that her nightmare finally ended.

Seven years after the assault, she was awarded a monthly annuity that has since allowed her to buy a home and start a business---and find personal relief.

Anne’s lack of knowledge about the potential for finding justice through the civil courts is sadly common for many victims, a conference at the Cardozo School of Law in New York was told yesterday.

For many crime victims the best route to justice may be through our civil courts, experts told the conference, sponsored by The National Center for Victims of Crime.

Speakers, including independent attorneys as well as victims’ advocates discussed different techniques that a crime victim can employ to get restitution-- if they feel the criminal courts aren’t bringing them relief.

Options in some cases included suing the location or company where the incident happened, especially ones that have been negligent in providing a safe environment for customers.

One case cited involved a victim who was attacked and raped at a hospital. The victim successfully sued the parent corporation for not providing reasonable security to protect patients, and received payment for counseling and stress-related work loss.

“How do you punish a corporation? “ asked Jeff Dion, director of the National Crime Victim Bar Association. “We can’t throw a corporation in jail but we can go after their bottom line.”

Madeline Bryer, who became an attorney after being attacked in her apartment, spoke about cases involving victims of crime in schools. .

She pointed out that there were differences in responsibilities for reporting sexual abuse in public and private schools. Not all private schools fall under federal sexual reporting guidelines unless they accept federal funds.

“Laws for schools are specific to the type of school,” said Bryer, cautioning advocates to take a close look at stories emanating from schools that may not be subject to federal laws.

Marci Hamilton, who holds the Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law at Benjamin Cardozo School of Law, spoke about the importance of statutes of limitations for criminal victims to file civil cases.

The clock starts ticking from the moment the abuse occurs, she said; but most child abuse victims don’t step forward until they are in their 40s. The statute of limitations for first-time claims in New York State is currently five years.

“We have to allow for these old cases to come forward,” said Hamilton. “Their courage will allow other victims to come forward, and it’s our best chance at achieving justice.”