State looks to extend rights of child sex abuse survivors - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

State looks to extend rights of child sex abuse survivors

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Following national headlines of child sex abuse cases like the one involving the U.S. Gymnastics Olympic doctor, Larry Nassar, Iowa lawmakers are taking steps to make sure Iowa gives survivors the time they need.

"The most important work we do in Iowa is raising kids. It should include keeping them safe and protecting them from child sex abusers," said State Senator Jeff Danielson.

Tuesday, the Iowa Senate voted unanimously to extend the civil statute of limitations for child sex abuse cases from four years to 25 years after the survivor turns 18.

For the team at the Family and Children's Council of Black Hawk County, the proposed change is a message to survivors.

"That we hear you. We hear you and we value . . . I am going to get emotional, I am sorry. We hear you and we value you," said Glenda Husome, the council's Sexual Abuse Prevention Coordinator.

Husome dedicates her time to educating children in schools and working to prevent child sexual abuse, but when it does happen, she says survivors need time to come forward.

"When trauma happens to a child, often times it is so suppressed that they aren't even aware that it happened because they have pushed it down so far," explains Husome.

Survivors may not realize what they went through until well into adulthood.

That is why when an Iowa House bill reached the Senate floor to extend the statute of limitation for landlords, state senators used the opportunity to extend the state's child sexual abuse laws.

"I think most Iowans would be shocked to learn that we were going to let landlords have a longer period of time to recover money from derelict renters and yet, we can't change a law so that if a child was abused there was a longer period of time to bring the perpetrator to justice," said Danielson.

The bill now goes back to the House with the amendment for another vote. If passed by the house, survivors of child sex abuse would have 25 years from the time they turn 18 to file a civil lawsuit against the person responsible.

 The statute of limitations for criminal action in a child sex abuse case is currently 10 years from the time the survivor turns 18. 

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