In its 2022 session, the Hawaii legislature addressed bill HB2208 which was intended to increase the time within which a civil lawsuit could be filed under Hawaii law for claims arising from the sexual abuse of a child. Generally, HB2208 was introduced to increase the deadline for filing a civil claim in court (the statute of limitations) from the sexual abuse survivor’s 26th birthday, or 3 years after discovery of illness or injury resulting from the abuse, up to the survivor’s 50th birthday, or 5 years after discovery of illness or injury resulting from the abuse. HB2208 was passed overwhelming by the state house and sent to the state senate where it was assigned to committees (Human Services and Judiciary) which held no public hearings or votes before the end of the session. Under the Hawaii legislature’s rules, committee chairs have a good deal of power to decide which bills get a hearing and they can quietly kill bills to which they are opposed. Since survivors of childhood sexual abuse often take years before they are able to address the harm done to them, increasing the statute of limitations is only fair and just. Hopefully, the Hawaii legislature will be willing to address this important issue again in 2023.
Statutes of limitations can be complicated. If you are a survivor of childhood sexual abuse please speak to an attorney with experience in the field to determine your rights.