Treva Kelly, our Legislative Director on the north side of the California State Capitol. 11/30/2014. This bill was a little different. The governor vetoed the bill but the Senate on 8/25/2014 and the Assembly on 8/27/2014 passed it with 100% yes votes. Then it went into law on 11/30/2014.
SB924 Damages: childhood sexual abuse: statute of limitations. (2013-2014)
CONGRESS PASSED 11/30/2014 (Civil)
Our ISSB Legislative Director, Treva Kelly testified in support of this bill on behalf of ISSB. Over the last 27 years the California Legislature has come to have a better understanding of the insidious and latent nature of the injuries suffered by a child who has been sexually abused and the reasons why victims of childhood sexual abuse (“CSA”) often wait years before reporting the abuse to law enforcement or otherwise. California Code of Civil Procedure, Sec. 340.1, a remedial statute intended to provide redress to CSA victims, has been amended no less than five times since its original enactment in 1986, consistent with this evolving knowledge of the latent effects of the original abuse. This bill extends the statute of limitations from 28 years of age to 40 years of age or or within 3 years of the date the plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered that psychological injury or illness occurring after the age of majority was caused by the sexual abuse, whichever period expires later. In many cases it takes this long for the victim to come to a place of recovery and is strong enough to battle the courts on their own behalf. This bill allows the victim to sue the predator in civil court to award money that is needed for the treatment we need to heal.
SB926 Statute of limitation: felony sex crimes. (2013-2014)
SIGNED BY GOVERNOR ON 9/30/2014. (Criminal)
Treva Kelly, ISSB’s Legislative Director, testified in support of this bill to extend the statute of limitation (SOL) for crimes of childhood sexual abuse from a victim's 28th birthday until the victim's 40th birthday. As victims we were told that the SOL had passed and the authorities were not able to charge the predator for the crimes on children. It is well documented medical research shows that victims of these horrible crimes suffer from P.T.S.D. and severe memory loss. With the psychological damage caused of CSA coupled with the high rates of recidivism found in sexual predators, there is a real need to expand the time survivors of these horrible crimes may come forward and file a complaint with law enforcement. The current law favors the abuser by letting the time run out to file a criminal complaint before the victim of the abuse is ready. This potentially has serious public safety consequences by letting sexual predators wait out the clock and the chain of abuse continues.
Floor of California's State Capitol.
California State Capital Building, May 28, 2009
In 2008 and 2009, ISSB members lobbied in favor of AB 612, written by Assemblymember Jim Beall. AB 612 is a bill to prevent unfounded theories from being used to take children away from their protective parents and placed into the custody of their alleged abusers. Family courts are currently allowed to ignore evidence of abuse, and place child into custody of their abusers without investigating the abuse allegations. This has lead to several children being murdered or committing suicide, and it needs to be stopped.
AB 612 was effectively killed by the California State Senate Judiciary Committe, who amended the bill to the point that it became meaningless. Assemblymember Jim Beall still lists the bill on his home page, but was unable to bring it any closer to passing in 2010.
Celebrating the passage of SB 33, California's Circle of Trust Bill: Alison Arngrim from Protect.org, Andrea Ransdell from ISSB, Betsy Salkind from Protect.org
SB 33: California's Circle of Trust Law
Andrea Ransdell and more than a dozen other ISSB members lobbied, along with Protect.org activists, including Grier Weeks, actress Alison Arngrim, comedian Betsy Salkind, and Bikers Against Child Abuse to pass California's Circle of Trust Law, SB 1803 in 2004, and SB 33 in 2005. (Most ISSB members choose not to post their pictures or names on the ISSB website for personal and/or legal reasons)
The Circle of Trust Law reverses California's previous "Incest Exception" law. Before SB 33 was passed, even though adults who raped someone else's child would go to jail, adults convicted of raping their own children would be sent back home to live with the victim, thanks to an Incest Exception Law that had been passed in 1981. The courts wanted to believe that it was OK to send the child home with her convicted rapist, but victims of this 1981 law came forward to testify about the repeated abuse, and the huge betrayal they felt after being sent back home after the conviction to suffer more sexual abuse. SB 33 passed, thanks to Senator Jim Battin--and thanks to ISSB members and hundreds of other supporters. Rapists are no longer given free reign to "grow their own victims." California's Circle of Trust Law has set a precedent for passing similar bills in other states.
Andrea Ransdell speaking at the Bill signing ceremony for AB 2893, September 2006
In 2006, several members of ISSB wrote letters and lobbied in support of AB 2893 (Mountjoy) , a bill which made it a little more difficult for convicted, registered sex offenders to have unsupervised custody of their own victims. As it was originally written, AB 2893 would have made it impossible for registered sex offenders to re-gain custody, but the bill had to be weakened it to get it through the committees.
The final version of AB 2893 which was signed into law states that, if a judge decides to award unsupervised custody to the person who molested that child, a written explanation for the decision has to be filed with the decision. This will make it possible for the child's lawyer to appeal the decision. The law previously allowed family court judges to award unsupervised custody without any explanation at all, and this made it almost impossible for the child's lawyer to file an appeal, which unfortunately had resulted in children becoming severely depressed and even committing suicide.
The new law is not very strong, but AB 2893 is setting a precedent to help pass stronger laws to protect children in the future.
Andrea Ransdell, who, in 2006 was the Legislative director of ISSB, had the opportunity to speak at the bill signing ceremony for AB 2893