SAFE Child Act

North Carolina SAFE Child Act

SB 199 Strengthens the Rights of Child Sex Abuse Survivors

Update: In June 2023, the case challenging the constitutionality of the SAFE Child Act will be heard by the North Carolina Supreme Court of Appeals. Lawyers for the Gaston County Board of Education are attempting to undo the lookback window created by the SAFE Child Act, arguing that it would create an opportunity for “endless” liability. If the constitutional challenge is upheld, then it would mean hundreds of victims of child sex abuse who filed lawsuits using the SAFE Child Act lookback window will have their claims dismissed, and a large amount of evidence of child abuse and administrative neglect will be kept confidential and out of the public eye.

The child sex abuse attorneys of Lanier Law Group will be arguing the case at the Court of Appeals to save the lookback window for all the victims of child sex abuse who are relying on it for justice. Be sure to visit our blog or check back here frequently for important updates.

In 2019, the North Carolina General Assembly passed SB 199, or the SAFE Child Act, to revamp the Old North State’s protections for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. It extended the statute of limitations, granted previously barred survivors the chance to file a claim during a “lookback window,” and implemented other protections for survivors. It is, therefore, the single most important piece of victims’ rights legislation to be passed in North Carolina in the past 50 years.

At Lanier Law Group, our North Carolina SAFE Child Act lawyers are advocating for child sex abuse survivors under this historic act. We are staunch proponents of SB 199, participating in efforts to protect it from opponents. Our lawyers even argued to defend its constitutionality at a special hearing before a three-judge panel.

Are you interested in filing a claim under the SAFE Child Act? Call Lanier Law Group at (855) 757-4204 to discuss your rights and options.

About the SAFE Child Act

A New Statute of Limitations for Child Sex Abuse Claims

As mentioned, the SAFE Child Act extended the statute of limitations on child sex abuse claims. Anyone who was victimized by abuse as a child now has until the age of 28 to file a lawsuit against the abuser and any institution or individual who enabled them. The previous statute of limitations expired on the survivor’s 21st birthday.

The Lookback Window Closes December 31, 2021

In recognition of how the previous statute of limitations was grossly inadequate, the SAFE Child Act opened a “lookback window” during which survivors who were previously barred from filing a claim were given another chance to do so. The lookback window under the SAFE Child Act opened January 1, 2020 and will close December 31, 2021.

New Requirements for Mandatory Reporting and Training

The SAFE Child Act also included provisions on mandatory reporting. All adults, regardless of their relation to a child or lack thereof, are legally required to report any suspicions of child sex abuse to law enforcement. That means teachers, camp counselors, church officials, and any individual in North Carolina who has reason to believe child sex abuse has been committed must report their suspicions to law enforcement, immediately.

The act further requires all school employees to be trained on their responsibilities as mandatory reporters. They must also be trained on how to recognize any warning signs of child sex abuse and/or trafficking, as well as how to properly intervene when they notice them.

North Carolina SAFE Child Act Attorneys

Lanier Law Group has already filed child sex abuse claims under the SAFE Child Act. Our attorneys have fought for the rights of survivors for over 20 years, providing North Carolina residents with compassionate counsel, effective advocacy, and unmatched client service. If you work with us, we will put our all into securing you justice, compensation, and closure.

Contact Lanier Law Group online to speak with a North Carolina SAFE Child Act attorney in a free, confidential consultation.

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