Denver, CO – The Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CCASA) enthusiastically supports the Child Sexual Abuse Accountability act, also known as SB21-088. A well-documented history of institutional cover-up has resulted in the sexual abuse of hundreds of Colorado children.
Our civil legal system is the single system designed to provide monetary resources to survivors to help cover the costs of things like counseling, medical care, and other expenses resulting from sexual abuse. Yet, because of the civil statute of limitations, the civil legal system is largely inaccessible to survivors, especially those who suffered childhood sexual abuse.
Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act (SB21-088)
SB21-088, sponsored by Senator Danielson (D) and Representatives Soper (R) and Michaelson Jenet (D), encourages youth organizations to do their due diligence in protecting children. This bill only makes bad actors liable; it holds the institutions accountable who knew, or should’ve known, that the children in their care were at risk for sexual abuse. Preventing the sexual abuse of children should be a top priority of the Colorado General Assembly.
Right now, in the state of Colorado, child sexual abuse survivors only have six years, past the age of majority, to make a civil claim against their abuser and only two years to make a civil claim against an organization that was complicit in their abuse, or in covering it up.
Healing from childhood sexual trauma has no timeline. Survivors deserve to access Colorado’s civil legal system on their own schedule. And bad actors deserve to be held accountable for protecting profits and reputation instead of children.
The Colorado Senate Needs to Act
By passing SB21-088, the Colorado Senate would be prioritizing the prevention of childhood sexual abuse. Not only will this protect Colorado’s children, it will benefit our state as a whole.
According to John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the total lifetime economic burden of child sexual abuse in the United States in 2015 was approximately $9.3 billion and individual lifetime costs were $282,734 per victim. These costs include, but aren’t limited to, health care, child welfare, special education, mental health treatment, violence, and crime.
SB21-088 can prevent this financial burden from falling on individuals – and taxpayers – by incentivizing organizations to protect children from sexual abuse. Senators who support this legislation are supporting survivors and having a positive impact on the public health of Colorado.
CCASA was founded in 1984 to be the collective voice of rape crisis advocates across the state of Colorado. Today, our membership includes over 100 sexual assault survivors, victim advocates, rape crisis centers, dual domestic violence and sexual assault programs, law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, public health agencies, college and university campuses, medical professionals, offender treatment programs, public officials, as well as other organizations and concerned individuals throughout Colorado.