New Senate Bill Increases the Available Remedies to Victims of Child Pornography

Victims of Alabama sexual abuse and child pornography are often left with lifelong symptoms, many of which may not materialize until later in life. Of course, sexual assault as well as the manufacture, distribution, and possession of child pornography are against the law. However, while the perpetrators of sexual abuse and child pornography can be held accountable for their actions through the criminal process, the focus of these prosecutions is on punishing the behavior of the perpetrator, rather than providing compensation to the victims of the abuse.

Legal News GavelThat being said, victims of sexual abuse or child pornography are entitled to seek compensation through a civil lawsuit. These lawsuits can be brought regardless of the outcome of a criminal trial. In fact, since the standard is different in civil and criminal cases, victims may have an easier time proving a case of abuse in civil court. Additionally, the rules of discovery in a civil trial allow for plaintiffs to obtain much more information from the defendant, potentially helping the plaintiff prove their case.

Earlier this month, the United States Senate unanimously passed a bill that revamps the compensation available to victims of child pornography. According to a recent news report, the Senate Bill makes several changes to the amount and types of compensation victims of child pornography can receive from those responsible for the abuse.

Senate Bill 534, named “The Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017,” amends the current statute that provides for compensation in cases of child pornography. The bill proposes the following changes:

  • Provides victims with a choice between either “actual damages” or $150,000 in liquidated damages;
  • Increases the type of attorney’s fees that can be recovered by victims;
  • Allows courts to award punitive damages to victims of child pornography;
  • Extends the current statute of limitations to 10 years after the victim turns 18 years of age;
  • Provides victims with a 10-year statute of limitations from the date when the victim “reasonably discovers” the pornography; and
  • Allows for lawsuits to be more easily filed in federal courts.

The bill also requires that amateur athletics governing bodies report allegations of sexual abuse to state or federal law enforcement officials. Additionally, the bill provides an avenue for aspiring Olympic athletes to report instances of sexual abuse.

Before the bill becomes law, it will have to be signed by the President. It is expected that the President will sign the bill shortly.

Have You Been a Victim of Child Pornography?

If you have discovered that you or your child has been a victim of child pornography or any other form of Alabama sexual abuse, you may be entitled to compensation. At The Reeves Law Firm, we represent clients who have suffered from sexual abuse or been victimized by child pornography. We understand the sensitive nature of these cases, and we work closely with our clients to ensure that our representation is catered to each client’s needs. To learn more about how you can potentially recover compensation for what you have been put through, call 256-355-3311 to schedule a free consultation with a dedicated Alabama sexual assault victim’s attorney.

See Related Blog Posts:

The Abuser’s in Jail, Now What? Help for the CSA Survivor, Alabama Injury Lawyer Blog, March 23, 2017