7 reasons why the ruling on the “expiry date” for reporting sexual abuse is monumental

Earlier this week, Acting Judge Claire Hartford declared Section 18 of the Criminal Procedure Act, which imposed a 20-year time limit on reporting sexual abuse, unconstitutional. The ruling means that victims of sexual assault are now able to pursue criminal charges without a time limit. This will affect victims of child molestation particularly because they will now have the same access to justice despite the time that has lapsed since the offense occured. The Constitutional Court still has to approve the ruling.


The decision came after the 2013 landmark case involving deceased billionaire philanthropist and established stockbroker, Sidney Frankel. Eight victims accused him of sexual molesting them when they were children. They wanted Frankel to be persecuted for the offenses committed over 20 years ago but the NPA said they couldn’t prosecute him because the offenses were over 20 years-old.

Frankel died in April 2017. While rape can be pursued at any time, Section 18 of the Criminal Procedures Act had imposed a 20 year statute of limitation on “non-penetrative” offenses. During the case proceedings, the victims argued that there is no evidence showing that consequences for sexual assault were less severe than rape.

Here are seven reasons why this ruling is important:

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