RAINN Launches Interactive Statutes of Limitations Tool

Evaluating the landscape of statutes of limitations for sex crimes just got a lot easier, thanks to RAINN’s new interactive tool.

In advance of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (#SAAPM), RAINN launched a webtool that allows users to take a closer look at criminal statutes of limitations for sex crimes. The tool breaks down statutes of limitations across a number of categories, developed with data from law firm Hogan Lovells in partnership with RAINN’s public policy experts.* The new tool complements a growing suite of educational materials RAINN has developed on statutes of limitations to encourage citizens and policymakers to improve the systems that hold perpetrators accountable and provide victims with justice.

“The reality is, statutes of limitations are tricky areas of law, and they are constantly evolving,” said Rebecca O’Connor, RAINN’s vice president of public policy. “We hope that by developing materials, such as our new statutes of limitations tool and easy-to-read resources, we can encourage communities and lawmakers across the country to advocate for laws that expand opportunities for justice and hold perpetrators accountable.”

Each state has statutes of limitations that determine the amount of time the state has to charge someone with a crime. Not only do these laws vary from state to state, they can vary by type of crime, age of victim, discovery of DNA evidence, as well as a number of other factors.

Many state policymakers have come to understand how the physical, emotional, and psychological effects of sexual violence can influence how and when a victim reports a crime. Despite this, some states reduce the amount of time when a charge can be brought against a perpetrator if a victim doesn’t report within a set period of time. With RAINN’s new tool, users can take a look at states’ statutes of limitations across a number of categories, including these reporting requirements.

Is your publication working on a statutes of limitations story?

RAINN’s policy experts are available for comment on developing news stories that focus on criminal statutes of limitations and how they play out in different crimes across the country. Contact RAINN’s press secretary with information about your piece, publication, and deadline.

*The tool reflects the state of the law as of March 2017, and will be periodically updated to reflect additional state reforms.