Statute of Limitations

Statute of Limitations

Washington state is poised to eliminate the statute of limitations for prosecuting child sexual abuse and expand the current statute for adult sexual assault cases. 

A bill making these changes was signed into law by Gov. Inslee and will take effect July 28. Once in effect, it would be applicable only to crimes that haven't already passed the current statute of limitations prior to the new law’s effective date.

Until the time the new law takes effect, reports of sexual assault or abuse will be considered under current law, which is among the nation's shortest and most complex. 

Changing this law was a top priority of an agenda that we announced ahead of the session. Its passage through the state legislature marks serious progress and is a reason to celebrate.

We know that despite the progress this change represents, it may be confusing for survivors and their families. Reporting a sexual assault is always an option regardless of the statute of limitations. There may be other reasons to report a sexual assault, even if prosecution is not available.

We're here to help with resources, information, and services, whether you choose to report your sexual assault to law enforcement or not. 

Start with our 24-hour Resource Line at 1.888.998.6423 or check out information under Get Help.