Lawmakers on the Senate Health and Human Services Committee unanimously passed the bill on Wednesday, The Colorado Sun reported. It will next head to the full Senate for debate.
Currently, victims of child sexual assault have six years after they turn 18 to sue. The legislation would eliminate that restriction.
A similar effort failed last year because of debates among lawmakers on whether and how to give victims an avenue to file lawsuits against their abusers years after the abuse happened. Several victims and advocacy groups were angered with the results.
The legislation would apply to people abused after Jan. 1, 2022, and people who are within the window of the statute of limitations by that date.
Another measure seeks to give past child sex abuse victims an opportunity to sue their abusers and institutions that failed to intervene. That bill has not yet been scheduled for its first committee hearing.
“Colorado is way behind on statute of limitation reform for survivors of child sexual abuse,” said Democratic state Sen. Jessie Danielson, the prime sponsor of the proposals. “These bills are the result of a decades-long struggle to bring some healing and justice to the survivor community. It’s time that we get it done.”
The companion bill is intended to give institutions the ability to right their wrongs in a way that the sponsors feel doesn’t violate the Constitution.
“There was always an appetite to try to address the decades-old, well-documented history of child sexual abuse and institutional cover up in Colorado,” said Raana Simmons, spokesperson for the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault. “The problem, I think, was just how do we do it.”
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