Victims of child sexual abuse told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday that a bill intended to extend the statute of limitations to report sexual offenses may help prevent future abuses by the same perpetrators.
"I think to myself, how many other children has he violated?" said a 35-year-old woman who testified on behalf of HB32. "I'm not here for revenge. I'm here for justice."The bill, sponsored by Democrats Tim Moran, Spanish Fork, and Joanne Milner and Paula Julander, both of Salt Lake City, would extend the statute of limitations for sexual offenses against a child to no more than four years after reporting the offense to a law-enforcement agency.
Milner said the bill is necessary because children who are traumatized by sexual offenses often suppress their feelings until they are adults.
The husband of a sexual abuse victim said his wife was abused on numerous occasions during her childhood. The aftermath of the abuse did not surface until 1984, when his wife suffered a nervous breakdown. She spent a year in a psychiatric hospital, diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
"For our family, it's been devastating," he said.
One victim said she recognizes it will be difficult to obtain a conviction after some 15 or 20 years. But she believes initiating prosecution may help victims get financial assistance from their abusers to defray the cost of counseling.
The committee unanimously approved the bill and forwarded it to the Senate for further consideration.