California Child Abuse Statute of Limitations

Generally speaking, any legal action for an injury to a minor in California, either physical or mental, is tolled until the child’s eighteenth birthday, meaning a lawsuit or settlement needs to happen within two years from the date the minor child turns eighteen. However, allegations of sexual abuse while a person was a minor child, contain special time frames for legal actions in California.

In a legal action for a person over the age of eighteen, recovering for sexual abuse that happened while he or she was a minor child must be as follows: the time for the commencement of the legal action must be within eight years of the date the person attains the age of majority (eighteen years old) or within three years of the date the person discovers (or reasonably should have discovered) that psychological injury or illness occurring after the age of eighteen was caused by the sexual abuse, whichever period expires later, for any of the following actions:

  1. An action against a person for committing an act of childhood sexual abuse;
  2. An action for liability against any person or entity who owed a duty of care to the plaintiff, where a wrongful or negligent act by that person or entity was a legal cause of the childhood sexual abuse that resulted in the injury to the plaintiff;
  3. An action for liability against any person or entity where an intentional act by that person or entity was a legal cause of the childhood sexual abuse that resulted in the injury to the plaintiff.

There are numerous exceptions to the above rules. An experienced San Diego child injury attorney will need to be consulted in order to see if you have a case for childhood sexual abuse.

California Child Abuse Agencies

Unfortunately, child abuse is a reality in today’s world, but there are some steps you can take in order to be proactive. If you suspect child abuse by a sexual offender, or if child pornography was involved, you can contact the following agencies for immediate help:

  1. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
  2. California Child Protective Services (CPS)
  3. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
  4. U.S. Department of Justice—Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section. See this link, to the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section with the Department of Justice Web site, for an explanation of how to report child pornography to the U.S. legal authorities:
  5. Your local police department special victims unit
  6. Your local U.S. Postal Service
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R 01/17/2012 03:23 PM
My children were physically abused by my ex husband while we were married. We divorced 13 yrs ago, and my kids are now teenagers. I live with the kids in another state, but he lives in San Jose, CA. Is there a limit on years of reporting and him being arrested? My kids are all special needs and in special education with IEPs. Can you please tell me what, if anything, can be done?
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Mark 01/17/2012 04:44 PM
Dear R: I highly recommend you consult with a California Child Injury lawyer in your local area. As you know from my blog posting, and special time frames apply. mb
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Bryan Sr22 Insurance Guru 03/29/2012 05:30 PM
This is important information for everyone to know. It is amazing how much news is going on right now about child abuse in our schools. Thanks for providing this information to public. As you help the community understand their right we try to help people understand their rights when it comes to dui insurance
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carmen farnsworth 11/06/2012 08:12 PM
Hello, hopefully you can help me with this. I was molested and raped at 14 by my 8th grade teac, would you her, I was a foster child in his home when this occured, I have contacted a lawyer, but he is not familer with any of the special statute of limitations in CA, He is requiring me to find a code for this statute of limitations, I am now 55 years old now and have recently been to get counseling from the mental problems I now have from the molestation would you know if I have a case and what special law code number there might be. Best Regards Carmen Farnsworth.
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Annie 12/17/2012 12:22 PM
I was abused by three family members from age 3 to 10. Iam now 29 having a severe hard time about this. Do I have legal rights to this still?
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Jf 02/02/2017 07:46 AM
I have a question. My ex husband and I divorced in2013 due to my relapse with drugs. He filed for emergency custody of my son when I got arrested that same year. And I lost custody of him for child endangerment and was test positive in family law.Never got charged no criminal charges for it So on August2016 I get charges filed against me. After cleaning up been employed for couple months and was paying child support. I was also in a cna program. I went through a hard patch but got my shit straight. And I had my own place again being a reasonable parent I was also about to file for a custody review. But now after all my hard work and years of pain of loosing my family I get charged for it. Right when everything was going ok for me. My question is can the da have authority to get my family law custody case test results of my child and mines to make it evidence in my criminal charges? And what about the special statute of limitations on it. I need some advice please.
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JANICE MARTINEZ 11/02/2017 05:05 PM
My son was physically abused while and a boys group home back in 2008. The staff member broke my son's arm, the probation officer immediately took my son out of the home oh, my son had court the next day and I brought him home. The judge told me that I could file a civil case however I did not know where to start and did not have the money to hire an attorney. My son has had emotional scars and issues after this incident. Is it too late to pursue charges?
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Mg 12/09/2017 05:04 PM
I juist found out that my 39 year old son was sexually molested by my babysitters son when he was under her care. My son is having a hard time with dealing with this memory, is there anyone I can contact to get him counseling or something. I also want to know if I can file charges or is it to late. My main concern is my son's mental state. Please help
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Cynthia 04/09/2020 11:10 PM
When I was younger around 6 my dads girlfriend would physically and mentally abuse my brother and I. I’m 19 now and always wanted to take her to court but never knew where to start or if it was too late. My mom took us away from the situation but also didn’t know what to do. Is it too late to do anything about it?
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Elmer Burley 10/29/2020 12:52 AM
My name is ElmerBurley. And I was born on mother's day 5:10 1968 I was born and attic for my parents was asked when they had me I'm the youngest of the 18 brothers and sisters and I was taking from the age of six for my mother cuz she was beating on me and put into a foster home at the age of 6 and they continued to beat on me to the age of 16 .
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Helzbend 10/31/2020 09:29 PM
I have an extremely complicated case. I'm 32 years old the internet server I'm on says I'm an adult child scapegoat. but through the past 3 years I've been struggling with my medical and coming to find myself better. I realized I lived most of my life in a haze but also was being drugged to be like a zombie. I woke up last year to the realization of things but only by triggers caused by my family. I am OCD, have a history of bipolar and have a history of major depression reoccurring severely.I'm going through a family law case and a workman's comp case that feel as if they just been overrun and taken for period my son got taken for me in February 2020 and I've literally had everyone go against me and trapped from both sides of the law it feels. I know of 25 cases that have been put on me but I can't find any information on them and I've been called a pedophile and been told stuff about child abuse and elderly abuse period when now and days I can say I feel I'm in trapped harassed ridiculed slandered or defamation of character entrapped surveillance illegally on The daily. I really don't know what to do I've had the cops come here 30 times and then eventually put me in behavioral health where they diagnosed me with the history of bipolar when I finally got the report I noticed that it was dating back until 02. I've had a police officer tell me to leave the state of California ASAP I've been told my rights have been illegally stole them from me I've been told my identity was stolen I've been told to move to Mexico I had an FBI agent in my Google contacts that I did not put there when I called her her and her partner both yelled at me and told me good luck living through the weekend. I have my own feeling of what happened with all of this but I just really need help in guidance as everywhere I've turned I just found out my family was there 5, 10, 15 or even 20 years previous.I've been told that the child that I've raised for the last 9 years and paid child support for was or is not my job. I've been told that I'm dying I've gone to every hospital in every clinic around and have multiple diagnosis and have taken an illegal amount of pills that aren't being watched by the FDA I gotten in what I can see 2 million dollars of debt. I've been stolen what I can see 1.2 million dollars in my lifetime. I believe I got stolen from my case I've been told that I got thrown onto the dark web my organ sold my hair my skin. This stuff gets crazier and crazier as more time goes on period if anybody has any suggestions I would love to hear them as long as they're not elementary. I don't mean to be rude but I've gone over and over and over from step one at least a half a million times literally in the past fiscal year. I've had to go through 15 different email accounts after mine were stolen I've had to go through 9 or plus phones new Sims new phone new network doesn't matter. Thanks for your help!
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Kristen B. 11/19/2020 04:16 PM
My son was restrained in a prone restraint at his elementary school on 1/28/2015. The use and practice of the restraint was within a policy at the time specific to students with disabilities. I feel there is bias in the policy that lent to this abusive practice on my son. He was fortunate to survive his restraint as he reported he was "unable to breathe" and staff claimed "it was only for a moment". I do not understand how society is "okay" with the practice of prone restraint on children in public schools. It is child abuse that is systemically permitted. How does one begin to challenge a system that recent legislation continues to permit?
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Evan 05/23/2022 05:05 AM
Hi I just recently found out that my wife was mentally and physically beat like a grown man from the age 2 to 15 and her mother was also beat and had her bones broken . He put them in hospital numerous times but was there for each hospital visit and so my wife and her mother were never able to tell the truth at the hospital for fear he would do what he threatened them with and kill them. Her mother and this monster were never married thank God but my wife is now 43 and all of the horror she witnessed and the memories of so much violence that she suffered from that he did to her had caused her to have sever emotional distress and anxiety and fear that he will come back and find her to continue his violent rage of heating her this monster is 6'4 and a good 300 pounds and enjoy bullying and beating a little girl at the age of 2 . This sick evil monster needs to be held responsible for his horrific actions and hopefully give my wife some closure my question is if she is 43 and the abuse happened from age 2 and ended at 16 that would be 27 years ago is she able to file any charges or civil lawsuit to make this monster be forced to deal with the evil he has done and this all came about after he tried to contact her on Facebook and she had completely shoved all the memories deep down inside after it happened the last time but a few months ago after seeing his name and picture it all surfaced and she is really worried and depressed and scared and I don't know what to do to help her get threw this so hopefully I can get some answers or help with what is possible and what we can do it brakes my heart to know that the women I love and would kill or die for suffered such pain and trauma so young and I couldn't be there to protect her so please let me know what our options are thank you
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Concerned but Disgruntled 06/13/2022 05:22 AM
I worked three summers at an overnight facility that caters to children ages 7-17. The last summer I worked, we had a new Director who had very low standards for physical safety. She hired very young and very inexperienced people to run an incredibly high-risk program. There were several injuries to kids in this program, including neck, back, wrist, and leg injuries. I have a separate dispute with the company now but feel like I can no longer keep this matter to myself. Any advice?
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Mary Rivera 08/24/2022 08:46 PM
My children were taken from me in 1997 by a crooked cop that charged false allegations that I ended up winning after clearing my name I went to CPS to pick them up , they told me I had to go through a long process a reunification program and said I wouldn’t get them back anyways. They terminated my rights by lying throughout the process. My children were put in foster care then adopted two were adopted by an abusive family that sexual abused and physically abused the one that was this family’s scapegoat sent her to a lockdown facility for girls in Utah for two years that abuse her again. My other lil girl was placed with a child molester she eventually testified against and was convicted and sent to prison for 17 years she has a lot of psychological problems now she’s 29 years old now. If I knew what I know today I would have filed a lawsuit for violating my civil rights and placing my children in danger from them not me. What they did was atrocious and my three girls went through a horrific childhood.
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