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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 148846 Find in a Library
Title: Child Sex Abuse Victims and Their Rights to Sue After Reaching Majority
Journal: Journal of Juvenile Law  Volume:14  Dated:(1993)  Pages:93-105
Author(s): S Davisson
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 13
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Delayed discovery rules are discussed.
Abstract: A victim of child abuse has a personal injury cause of action against his or her abuser. The statute of limitations for a tort action that arose during minority is generally 3 years after reaching majority. The delayed discovery doctrine extends that period for different time lengths, depending upon the decisional legislature in a particular jurisdiction. The application of the delayed discovery doctrine involves the issue of when the court finds that the alleged injury occurred. Some courts have determined that the injury occurs when there is knowledge of the abuse, while others require both knowledge of abuse and the causal connection to the victim's adult problems. This article focuses on a remedy for adults who were victims of child sexual abuse and the apparent disparity of treatment between those who knew they were molested as children, but do not connect their adult psychological injuries to that abuse until after they have reached the age of majority, contrasted with those who had fully repressed all memory of the molestation. According to this note, courts have generally separated these cases into Type 1 and Type 2 categories. Type 1 cases are those in which plaintiff claims he or she knew about the sexual abuse at or before majority, but was unaware that the abuse had caused other physical and psychological problems. Type 2 cases are those in which plaintiff claims that due to the trauma of the experience he or she repressed his or her memories of the abuse and had no recollection or knowledge of the sexual abuse until shortly before he or she filed suit. Cases from various jurisdictions involving facts in each category are discussed. This note concludes that only a minority of jurisdictions have extended their delayed discovery rules to apply to Type 1 cases. The trend of the courts and various State legislatures appears to apply extended discovery rules to Type 2 cases. Footnotes
Main Term(s): Victims of Crime
Index Term(s): Adult survivors of child sexual abuse; Child Sexual Abuse; Courts; Juveniles
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