Illinois lifts statutes of limitations for sex crimes

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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) – On Friday Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed legislation to remove the statute of limitations on sex crimes.

The law, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, will eliminate a 10-year statute of limitations for prosecuting criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

Advocates say this new law is a step forward for both survivors of sex crimes, as well as public safety.

Camille Cooper, the Vice President of Public Policy at the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) says, “When states abolish their statute of limitations, what they’re doing basically is opening up the doors of justice and signaling to survivors that it’s safe for them to come forward.”

RAINN is the country’s largest anti-sexual assault nonprofit in the United States.

The organization offers resources for survivors of sexual assault, as well as their loved ones.

The number for RAINN’s national hotline is: (800)-656-4673.

According to the organization’s website, when you call the number, you are routed to an affiliate organization based on the first six digits of the phone number you’re calling from.

Cell phone callers, the site says, will even have the option to enter the ZIP code of their current location to find the nearest sexual assault service provider.

For more information on the services offered by RAINN, you can visit their site here.

Family Resources, a local nonprofit, serves survivors of violent crimes, including sexual assault and domestic violence in both Iowa and Illinois.

In Illinois, Family Resources primarily serves Rock Island County, but also parts of Henry and Mercer County.

The organization has a location for survivors of violent crimes, including sex abuse crimes, in Moline, located at 1521 47th Ave.

A 24-hour, staffed crisis hotline is available, free of charge, in both Iowa and Illinois.

The number for people calling in Illinois is (309)-797-1777, and for those in Iowa, (563)-326-9191.

Emily Gordon, Illinois Survivor Services Director of Family Resources tells TV6, “We work with survivors. We will let them come to us at any time. We can do immediate advocacy on the crisis situation, whether they report or not and then we can do ongoing advocacy and therapy for as long as it’s needed.”

Gordon says this new law will give survivors of these crimes the opportunity to come forward when they are ready to do so, with no time limit.

To learn more about the services offered in the Quad Cities and surrounding areas by Family Resources, you can visit their website here.

In nearby Iowa, there is a 15-year limitation for prosecuting crimes of sexual abuse in the first, second, and third degree. Additionally, there is a 3-year statute for assault with intent to commit sexual abuse.

Advocates tell TV6 they hope more states — like Iowa — will follow lead and push for change to their laws surrounding the statutes of limitations when it comes to crimes of sex abuse.