Call for your free consultation: 
(410) 685-2022
Call for your free consultation: 
(410) 685-2022
Child Injury 5/27/2024

Maryland Child Victims Act Ruled Constitutional 

Judge Finds Removing Time Limits for Child Sex Assault Claims Constitutional

In a major victory for survivors of child sexual abuse, a Maryland judge has ruled that the Child Victims Act, which eliminates the statute of limitations for Maryland child sexual assault lawsuits, is constitutional. This means that adult victims can now come forward and seek justice, regardless of how much time has passed since the abuse occurred. Several states have adopted a “look-back” window allowing survivors a certain time frame to pursue claims against their abusers. Maryland is now one of the first states to bring about an indefinite “look-back” window for survivors.

What is the Child Victims Act?

The Child Victims Act is a landmark piece of legislation that was passed in Maryland in 2023. The Act eliminates the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits alleging child sexual abuse. This means that victims of child sexual abuse can now file a lawsuit against their abuser, regardless of when the abuse took place. The Child Victims Act also states that survivors may recover up to $1.5 million in cases against private institutions and up to $890,000 in cases against public institutions.

Research shows that many survivors of childhood sexual abuse take until well beyond their 38th birthday to come to terms with their trauma and decide to take the step of pursuing legal accountability.  In fact, the average age of disclosure of such childhood abuse is 52.

Sexual Abuse Survivor Rights

The opportunity for survivors of child sexual abuse in Maryland to file a lawsuit against their abuser was severely limited by previous time limitations prior to the Child Victims Act. This time limit, known as the statute of limitations, could vary depending on the circumstances of the abuse. In some cases, the statute of limitations was as short as three years. This meant that many survivors were unable to come forward and seek justice because the statute of limitations had expired.

The Child Victims Act eliminates the statute of limitations, giving survivors more time to heal and come to terms with their abuse before filing a lawsuit. This is a major victory for survivors' rights and will allow many more victims to seek justice.

Initial Reactions and Legal Challenges

Survivors' rights advocates and legal experts overwhelmingly praised the CVA. It offered a lifeline to countless individuals who previously couldn't hold their abusers accountable due to time constraints. The Act empowered them to heal, seek closure, and potentially obtain compensation for the trauma inflicted.

Catholic Church Opposes New Legislation

Some institutions, most notably the Catholic Church, voiced concerns. Here are some of the key arguments raised against the Act:

  • Retroactive Application: The Church argued the CVA unfairly applied to past cases. They claimed it disadvantaged them by reopening decades-old allegations that might be difficult to defend against due to faded memories or missing evidence.
  • Due Process Concerns: The Church further argued the CVA violated due process rights by retroactively eliminating the statute of limitations, a legal safeguard that offered them a timeframe to prepare a defense.
  • Financial Strain: Institutions worried about the financial burden of defending numerous lawsuits stemming from historical abuse claims.

Despite these challenges, the Child Victims Act was ultimately upheld by a Maryland judge. The judge ruled that the Act was constitutional and that removing time limits did not violate the rights of any institution or individual.

Real Life Application for the New Law

The Child Victims Act has already had a real impact on the lives of survivors of child sexual abuse. In many cases, victims who were abused as children were able to file lawsuits against their abusers decades after the abuse took place. The Act has given them the courage to come forward and seek justice.

The Child Victims Act also applies to cases of child sex trafficking. Child sex trafficking is a form of human trafficking in which a child is forced to engage in sexual activity. The Child Victims Act will allow victims of child sex trafficking to come forward and seek justice against their traffickers.

Additional Resources for Child Victims

If you are a survivor of child sexual abuse, there are many resources available to help you. You can contact a lawyer who specializes in child sexual abuse cases. You can also contact a support group for survivors of child sexual abuse.

If you suspect a minor is being abused, it's crucial to report it immediately. Here are some resources:

  • National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE You can also chat online at RAINN
  • Childhelp USA: 1-800-422-4453 This hotline provides crisis intervention, prevention, and information services for children and families. You can also chat online at Childhelp

A list of more available resources can be found online at

The Importance of Proper Legal Representation

If you are a survivor of child sexual abuse, it is important to seek legal representation from an attorney who is experienced in handling these types of cases. An attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options, and they can guide you through the legal process.

Trust Schlachman, Belsky, Weiner & Davey, P.A. With Your Case

The attorneys at Schlachman, Belsky, Weiner & Davey, P.A. have a long history of representing survivors of child sexual abuse. We understand the unique challenges that survivors face, and we are committed to helping you seek justice. If you have been sexually abused as a child, please contact us today for a free consultation.

Share This Story

Interested in this topic? Your friends might be too! Consider sharing this story to your social media channels and look like a smart, sophisticated resource of information.
Take a Stand With Us
The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute client relationship.