Around 80% of lawsuits against sexual predators end up in civil,  not criminal, court, meaning offenders won’t go to jail—even if they admit the molestation or are found to be guilty. Why? Because the STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS has passed.

Each state makes its own determination of the number of years that a plaintiff has to file a charge against a perpetrator.  Most states have no statute of limitations for capital offenses such as murder. Some states also have no statute of limitations for criminal sexual assault. The rest have a set number of years (which can vary quite a bit) for a sexual abuse victim to come forward and press charges.

If your claim happens to fall outside your state’s criminal statute of limitations, you have no recourse except to file a civil suit against the perpetrator (civil suits also may be subject to statutes of limitations).   

What is the cost of childhood sexual assault (CSA)?


Because of the concealed nature of sexual abuse, it’s impossible to know how many persons have experienced it. The website of the U.S. Department of Justice cites research conducted by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), which shows that approximately one in four girls and one in six boys have been victims of childhood sexual assault (CSA) before the age of 18. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agrees with that assessment, adding that the lower rate for males may be inaccurate due to underreporting. Many abused children, especially boys, will never tell anyone. And if they do, it will likely not be until years—even decades—later.

Facts below are taken from the Darkness To Light (D2L) Fact Sheet

FACT: Children who are sexually abused are at significantly greater risk for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), depression, and suicide attempts.
7,23,24,35,36,37,38,39,40, 41,42,49, 50
  • Adults with a history of CSA are more than twice as likely to attempt suicide. 76,77
  • Females who are sexually abused are three times more likely to develop psychiatric disorders than females who are not sexually abused.81
  • Among male survivors, more than 70% seek psychological treatment for issues such as substance abuse, suicidal thoughts, and attempted suicide. 81

 FACT: CSA is associated with physical health problems in adulthood.
  • Adults with a history of CSA are 30% more likely than their non-abused peers to have a serious medical condition such as diabetes, cancer, heart problems, stroke, or hypertension. 84
  • They also suffer a host of non-life-threatening conditions, with the resultant burden to both them and the healthcare system. 49,87,88,89

 FACT: Substance abuse problems are among the most common "side effects" of child sexual abuse.
  • A number of studies have found that adolescents with a history of CSA demonstrate a three- to four-fold increase in rates of substance abuse/dependence. 22,23,47,48,64

 FACT: Delinquency and crime (often stemming from substance abuse) are more prevalent in adolescents with a history of childhood sexual abuse.
  • Adolescents who were sexually abused have a 3- to 5-fold risk of delinquency. 23,37,66,67,68,69
  • Emotional and behavioral difficulties such as aggression and oppositionality can lead to delinquency, poor school performance, and dropping out of school. 35,61,62,63
  • Adolescents who report victimization (i.e., sexual or physical abuse) are more likely to be arrested than their non-abused peers. 66,67
  • Sexually abused children are nearly twice as likely to run away from home. 66

 FACT: Adult survivors of child sexual abuse are more likely to become involved in crime, both as a perpetrator and as a victim.
  • As adults, CSA victims were almost twice as likely to be arrested for a violent offense as the general population (20.4% versus 10.7%). 66
  • Males who have been sexually abused are more likely to violently victimize others. 81

 FACT: Academic problems are a common symptom of sexual abuse.
  • Sexually abused children tended to perform lower on tests measuring cognitive ability, academic achievement, and memory assessments when compared to same-age non-sexually abused peers. 60
  • Studies indicate that sexual abuse exposure among children and adolescents is associated with school high-absentee rates, more grade retention, increased need for special education services, and difficulty with school adaptation. 61
  • A history of CSA significantly increases the chance of dropping out of school. 35,61,62,63

 FACT: The risk of teen pregnancy is much higher for girls who have a history of childhood sexual abuse.
  • 45% of pregnant teenage girls report a history of CSA. 40
  • In addition, males who are sexually abused are more likely than their non-abused peers to impregnate a teen. 59,72,83

 FACT: Childhood sexual abuse has an enormous financial cost to society.
  • The lifetime burden of child maltreatment is estimated to be $210,012 per victim [2012]. This includes immediate costs, as well as loss of productivity and increased healthcare costs in adulthood. 93 (While this estimate is for all forms of child maltreatment, including neglect and psychological abuse, there is evidence that the consequences of child sexual abuse are equivalent or greater than the consequences of other forms of child maltreatment.) 4
  • The expenses are largely paid for by the public sector—the taxpayer. The costs include: healthcare, criminal justice, child welfare, special education, and productivity losses. For just ONE YEAR of confirmed cases, that amounts to approximately $124 billion. 92,93


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22            Walker, E.A. Gelfand, A., Katon, W.J., Koss, M.P, Con Korff, M., Bernstien, D., et al. (1999). Medical and psychiatric symptoms in women with children and sexual abuse. Psychosomatic Medicine, 54, 658-664.

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40            Noll, J. G., Shenk, C. E., & Putnam, K. T. (2009). Childhood sexual abuse and adolescent pregnancy: A meta-analytic update. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 34, 366-378.

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47            Acierno, R., Kilpatrick, D. G., Resnick, H. S., Saunders, B., de Arellano, M. & Best, C. (2000). Assault, PTSD, family substance use, and depression as risk factors for cigarette use in youth: Findings from the national survey of adolescents. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 13, 381-396.

48            Felitti, V.J., Anda, R.F., Nordenberg, D., Williamson, D., Spitz, A.M., Edwards, V., Koss, M., Marks, J.S., (1998) Relationship of childhood abuse and household dysfunction to many of the leading causes of death in adults: The adverse childhood experiences (ACE) study. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 14(4).

49            Lanier, P., Jonson Reid, M., Stahlschmidt, M. J., Drake, B., & Constantino, J. (2010). Child maltreatment and pediatric health outcomes: A longitudinal study of low-income children. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 35(5), 511-522.

50            Mullers, E. S., & Dowling, M. (2008). Mental health consequences of child sexual abuse. British Journal of Nursing, 17(22), 1428-1433.

59            Saewyc, E.M., Magee, L.L., & Pettingall, S.E. (2004). Teenage pregnancy and associated risk behavior among sexually abused adolescents. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 36(3), 98-105.

60            Wells, R., McCann, J., Adams, J., Voris, J., & Dahl, B. (1997). A validational study of the structured interview of symptoms associated with sexual abuse using three samples of sexually abused, allegedly abused, and nonabused boys. Child Abuse & Neglect, 21, 1159-1167.

61            Reyome, N.D. (1994). Teacher ratings of the academic achievement related classroom behaviors of maltreated and non-maltreated children. Psychology in the Schools, 31, 253-260

62            Daignault, I.V. & Hebert, M. (2009). Profiles of school adaptation: Social, behavioral, and academic functioning in sexually abused girls. Child Abuse & Neglect, 33, 102-115.

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64            Briere, J., & Elliott, D.M. (2003). Prevalence and psychological sequelae of self-reported childhood physical and sexual abuse in a general population sample of men and women. Child Abuse & Neglect, 27(10), 1205-1222.

66            Siegal, J.A. & Williams, L.M. (2003). The relationship between child sexual abuse and female delinquency and crime: A prospective study. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 40, 71-94.

67            Widom, C.S. & Maxfield, M.G. (2001). An update on the “cycle of violence.” Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice. National Institute of Justice.

68            Cyr, M., McDu_, P., & Wright, J. (2006). Prevalence and predictions of dating violence among adolescent female victims of child sexual abuse. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 21(8), 1000-1017.

69            Yates, T. M. (2004). The developmental psychopathology of self-injurious behavior: Compensatory regulation in posttraumatic adaptation. Clinical Psychology Review, 24(1), 35-74.

72            Herrenkohl, E. C., Herrenkohl, R. C., Egolf, B. P., & Russo, M. J. (1998). The relationship between early maltreatment and teenage parenthood. Journal of Adolescence, 21, 291-303.

76            Dube, S. A., Anda, R. F., Whitfield, C. L., Brown, D. W., Felitti, D. J., Dong, M., & Giles, W. (2005). Long-term consequences of childhood sexual abuse by gender of the victim. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 28, 430 –437.

77            Waldrop, A. E. Hanson, R. F., Resnick, H. S., Kilpatrick, D. G., Naugle, A. E., & Saunders, B. E. (2007). Risk factors for suicidal behavior among a national sample of adolescents: Implications for prevention. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 20, 869–879.

81            Walrath, C., Ybarra, M., Holden, W., Liao, Q., Santiago, R., & Leaf, R. (2003). Children with reported histories of sexual abuse: Utilizing multiple perspectives to understand clinical and psychological profiles. Child Abuse & Neglect, 27, 509-524.

83            Arnow, B. A. (2004). Relationships between childhood maltreatment, adult health and psychiatric outcomes, and medical utilization. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 65 [suppl 12],10 –15.

84            Sachs-Ericsson, N., Blazer, D., Plant, E. A., & Arnow, B. (2005). Childhood sexual and physical abuse and 1-year prevalence of medical problems in the National Comorbidity Survey. Health Psychology, 24, 32–40.

87            Walker, E. A., Keegan, D., Gardner, G., Sullivan, M., Bernstein, D. & Katon, W. J. (1997). Psychosocial factors in fibromyalgia compared with rheumatoid arthritis: II. Sexual, physical, and emotional abuse and neglect. Psychosomatic Medicine, 59, 572–577.

88            Finkelhor, D.,& Ormrod, R. (2001). Child Abuse Reported to the Police. Juvenile Justice Bulletin, Washington, DC: United States Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

89            Golding, J. M. (1996). Sexual assault history and women’s reproductive and sexual health. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 20,101 –121.

92            Fang, X., Brown, D., Florence, C., Mercy, J. (2012) The economic burden of child maltreatment in the United States and implications    for prevent.  Child Abuse & Neglect, 36:2,156-165