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What Is the SAFE Child Act?

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There are few things more devastating for a child to experience than abuse. Unfortunately, it happens far too often. The children often experience lifelong damages, post-traumatic stress, and more. A legislation known as the SAFE Child Act exists to help prevent children from experiencing abuse. Even more, it gives survivors the right to pursue legal remedies long after the incident occurred.

At Lanier Law Group, P.A., we aim to help individuals recognize their rights. If you are a survivor of abuse, you deserve to pursue justice and hold your abuser accountable. The SAFE Child Act affords that option, but even more, it sets up a prevention method.

Here’s what we’ll work to help you understand below:

  • The purpose of the SAFE Child Act
  • Benefits of the SAFE Child Act
  • How it impacts civil abuse cases
  • The North Carolina lookback window

If you need help with an abuse case and would like to speak with a lawyer, call our firm at (855) 757-4204 today.

The Purpose of the SAFE Child Act

The SAFE Child Act focuses on potential domestic violence cases, child abuse, child sexual abuse, and more. Many custody cases that arise in the court system involve claims of domestic violence. People hurt children in custody cases more than anything else, but the SAFE Child Act works to prevent these heinous acts from occurring.

The program allows for professionals and others involved in custody cases to recognize signs of abuse. Everyone involved in the custody case receives additional training and takes classes so that they may identify when domestic and child abuse may be present in a case.

The SAFE Child Act looks at studies regarding how domestic violence and child abuse affect children, then uses the information to ensure further education and training where it’s needed most.

The North Carolina SAFE Child Act also works to protect survivors of sexual abuse when they need to take legal action and hold offenders accountable. The legislation works to prevent child sexual abuse, as well.

Benefits of the SAFE Child Act

The SAFE Child Act creates awareness in custody cases. Judges and other court professionals receive training, but even more, the legislation provides funding for domestic violence agencies to do their part in court cases. The agencies would train court professionals, taking over for those who don’t have the same experience as those working for the agencies.

Under the SAFE Child Act, sex offenders are restricted from contacting anyone under 16 years of age on social media or the internet.

Above all else, the SAFE Child Act exists to protect young children. You may not hear about it often, but children are victimized when one parent decides to take custody issues to court. Throughout the custody case process, court professionals will look for any signs of child abuse and take the necessary steps to protect the children. Here’s how the legislation would improve child safety in custody cases:

  • Requiring court professionals in custody cases have suitable training to recognize abuse.
  • Requiring courts to look at all suitable and valid research regarding domestic violence to make decisions in the best interests of the child.
  • Requiring courts to issue custody to the safe parent when evidence of domestic violence exists.
  • Requiring courts only to allow supervised visitation with a child when they have committed domestic violence.
  • Requiring courts to utilize an evaluator to conduct a hearing and gather evidence when a prior history of domestic violence exists.

How It Impacts Civil Abuse Cases

The SAFE Child Act plays a crucial role for survivors of child sexual abuse. While many civil cases have statutes of limitations that give victims just a few years to file their case, the SAFE Child Act gives child sexual abuse survivors a lot longer depending on the severity of the charge.

  • For a misdemeanor child sexual abuse charge, the SAFE Child Act extends the statute of limitations to ten years.
  • For a felony child sexual abuse charge, there’s no restriction in the state of North Carolina.

Under the SAFE Child Act, all adults must report it if they have reasonable suspicion that a child is suffering from sexual abuse. This includes teachers, coaches, daycare workers, or others who supervise a child. All teachers and employees in schools from kindergarten to 12th grade should receive training to prevent or identify child sexual abuse or trafficking.

The SAFE Child Act also impacts criminal cases, allowing prosecutors to bring charges up to 10 years after the date of the incident. Like with civil cases, felony criminal cases have no statute of limitations.

The North Carolina Lookback Window

Survivors of abuse in North Carolina can also utilize the lookback window legislation. The lookback window means that any sexual abuse survivor can file a case no matter how long the abuse occurred. Even if the statute of limitations had initially barred their case, the lookback window allows survivors to safeguard their rights and pursue justice.

Children who were abused before they turned 18 will have until they turn 28 to file a lawsuit.

If you or someone you love is a survivor of abuse or sexual abuse, it’s crucial to recognize your rights. Our North Carolina abuse attorneys are ready to stand by your side and safeguard you throughout the process. With Lanier Law Group, P.A. on your side, you receive experienced and skilled representation so that you can have peace of mind every step of the way.

We encourage you to fill out our online contact form or call us at (855) 757-4204 today to discuss your options.