February 6, 2019
Denver, CO — Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passed SB19-049, Statute Of Limitation Failure Report Child Abuse, a bill – sponsored by Sen. Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora) – that would extend the statute of limitations for mandatory reporters who fail to report child abuse. The bill now heads to the committee of the whole for consideration.
“We have mandatory reporters who have access to kids all day long that are having their cases dismissed because they can keep a secret for 18 months and 1 day. Those 24 hours completely absolve them of any and all responsibility to report. That is unacceptable,” said Senator Fields.
“We need to protect our kids, especially those who have the courage to come forward to report sexual assault, and that is exactly what this bill does.”
SB19-049 extends the statute of limitations for these failures to report from 18 months to 3 years. By extending the window in which mandatory reporters may be liable for failing to report, this bill would help hold sexual abuse offenders accountable.
By age 18, one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused and four of five victims will not report their abuse. When children choose to speak, it is especially important that mandatory reporters take the appropriate action these children trust them to take. This bill would help hold these trusted adults to a higher standard.
“This is a law about accountability. If you are an adult who is aware of a child being sexually abused, you should not be able to sit on the sidelines. How do we protect our children better? I believe this bill addresses this issue,” said Stephanie Villafuerte, Child Protection Ombudsman of Colorado.
To learn more about SB19-049, please visit https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/sb19-049.