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In light of scandals pouring out the Catholic Church and the #MeToo movement, California quickly acted to change their statute of limitations on sexual cases. On October 13, 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill (AB) 218 into law.

This bill allows sexual abuse survivors more time to file a civil suit against alleged abusers.


California’s previous statute of limitations only allowed victims of sexual abuse until the age of 26 or three years after abuse discovery to file a civil suit. Now, victims have until the age of 40 or five years after abuse discovery to pursue action against abusers.

These statute of limitations extensions only apply to civil cases, not criminal proceedings. However, civil suits allow victims to potentially recover damages for their abuse. This means that a jury could require an alleged abuser to pay victims money to compensate for injuries caused by sexual abuse. The extension gives survivors who struggled coming forward to report crimes in the past a second chance to pursue justice.


Along with the age extension, AB 218 opens a “lookback window” that removes the statute of limitations for sexual abuse for three years.

Within this time frame, California sexual abuse survivors have a second chance to pursue civil action against abusers. Even if old statute of limitations has expired for a victim, they can file a civil suit within this window of time.

The three-year lookback window starts January 1, 2020 and ends January 1, 2023.

Connect with a Sexual Abuse Attorney

Change has come for California sexual abuse survivors, and AVA Law Group wants to join you on your path toward healing. With the additions made by AB 218, you may have a second chance at receiving a cash settlement to help you heal from long-term injuries. Contact us today for a free, no obligation case evaluation.

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