Statute of Limitations for Child Sexual Abuse in Washington State

Many people are unaware that they may be able to bring an action against their abusers decades after the abuse has occurred. Victim Impact PanelIn Washington State, as in many other states, a victim an such an assault may not even understand the damage that has been caused to them by the abuse until years later. As a result, the legislature in Washington state determined that a victim of childhood sexual abuse can bring a suit within three years of the time the victim discovered or reasonably should have discovered the injury or condition was caused by the abuse. (RCW 4.16.340) Courts in Washington have upheld the extended statute of limitations for victims of sexual abuse. For example, one step brother sued another step-brother in 2005 for abuse that occurred in the 1950’s. The victim had not realized the psychological nature of his injuries until sometime after June of 2002. Nevertheless, the Court held the victim could still sue. The ability to bring suit is a powerful new weapon in the hands of victims of abuse and one that should not be overlooked.