AB 218 and a Survivor’s Story
California Governor Gavin Newson signed Assembly Bill 218 (AB 218). This action was welcomed by all childhood sexual abuse victims and advocates throughout California. AB 218 creates an opportunity for all California sexual abuse survivors to be heard and have their claims decided within the California courts.
AB 218 expands the current statute of limitations for sexual abuse victims to bring a lawsuit against institutions that failed to protect them as children by amending California Code of Procedure section 340.1. AB 218 also creates a “look back” window for all victims to bring their claims forward without fear that it may be too late.
AB 218 and a Three Year Look Back Window
Beginning January 1, 2020, all childhood sexual assault victims will have the opportunity to pursue their claims and seek justice. A three year “look back” window will open allowing claims to be brought and lawsuits to be filed by all victims of any age.
After the three year window, victims will have the opportunity to bring a claim within 22 years of the date the victim attains the age of majority. This means victims will have the opportunity to bring all claims before reaching 40 years old. This is a huge win for all survivors that were previously required to bring claims within eight years after the age of majority, 26 years old.
Most importantly, the passing of this new law will hold institutions accountable and provide healing to victims.
At Beck Law, we understand through experience that coming forward and telling your story can be difficult and can invoke fear of the unknown. We believe the most important part of any claim is providing healing to the victim. We encourage all victims to contact us for a safe space to share their story.
Robert has authorized use of his name in this article and the following account of his story
Recently, Beck Law represented a brave young man named Robert Kennedy (https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/9742628-181/hanna-boys-center-abuse- survivor).
Robert came to Beck Law in early 2017 when he feared that by not telling his story, his perpetrator and the institutions that failed to protect him would continue to victimize other young men. Robert observed his perpetrator during a visit to the school campus where multiple incidents of abuse occurred. Robert felt in his gut that his perpetrator was continuing to abuse others yet here he was, comfortably walking about the campus without fear of being confronted as the abuser of Robert and others. Robert knew he had to share his story.
Robert came to Beck Law fearful of doing nothing but not knowing what to do. Robert believed he should trust one more time. Without expectations, Robert told the truth and opened up about his story. He was heard, counseled, and within days his perpetrator was arrested.
Robert has shared that he was immediately comfortable with Beck Law and instantly felt safe. He knew for the first time he had people on his side that were not only professional but knew what they were doing, while keeping his best interest in mind. He was impressed with the immediate action that took place and realized that he had come to a place that always puts the client first. Robert had finally found people that understood him and that were here to protect him.
After his initial meeting Robert walked away feeling optimistic, believed, and felt no pressure. Robert had hope. He knew this was something he wanted to do and pursue. The worst part was accepting that this had actually happened to him. The best part was realizing that by telling his story he has made a difference not only in his own life but in the lives of so many others. Robert learned that he was no longer alone.
Throughout this process, Robert’s identity was completely protected and only revealed when he made the brave decision to come forward publicly to share his story.
Since the conclusion of Robert’s case, he has changed in more ways than he ever expected. He has not only grown more confident but he has been reassured that what happened to him was wrong and that he knows he made the right decision coming forward. Robert continues to heal and believes this would not have been possible without his experience with Beck Law and their co-counsel Manly, Stewart, and Finaldi.
When asked if he would do it again, Robert did not hesitate to respond, “No question. 100%.” He is no longer alone. He believes asking for help will lead you in the right direction and asking for help is what led Robert to Beck Law.
Robert expressed that one of the greatest lessons he learned throughout this experience is the importance to talking to the right person. He recommends taking that first step and reaching out to a lawyer to tell your story. It will be confidential and you will be safe.
Robert was never promised anything other than that Beck Law’s priority would be to take care of Robert. He knows Beck Law remained true to this promise and shared that all victims should come to a lawyer first. He continues to stress how important it is to find the right person with no agenda but to help and provide healing. He believes the right person is Beck Law.
Robert is a strong individual with a story that so many can relate to. If you have been the victim of childhood sexual assault, call us today. You will be heard and we will listen.