New bills would expand statute of limitations for sexual assault survivors in Michigan

3 bipartisan bills to help sexual assault survivors introduced this week

Set of bills in Lansing aim to expand Michigan's statute of limitations for sexual assault.

LANSING, Mich. – A new set of bills in Lansing aim to expand Michigan’s statute of limitations for sexual assault.

The current statute of limitations for childhood abuse expires at the age of 28.

Three new bills, house bills 5962, 5963 and 5964, were introduced this week by state representative Kelly Breen (D-Novi), Julie Brixie (D-Meridian Township) and John Damoose (R-Harbor Springs).

“Survivors would be able to file a claim until their 48th birthday or for 10 years after the date of the sexual assault, or seven years after discovering that they were abused, whichever is later,” said Brixie. “If the sexual assault resulted in criminal conviction, then the statute of limitations would be waived.”

If passed, the bill package would give a two-year revival window; survivors who had a statute of limitations that already expired would have a second chance.

The bills would also waive some procedural barriers for claims that involve state agencies and institutions to hold them accountable while also helping survivors file claims.

“Our bill package addresses in terms of waiving some procedural notice requirements that certain institutions have that protect them. That would allow survivors to come forward and seek justice against those that contributed or enabled to their injuries,” Brixie said.

Sydney Bakos was sexually assaulted at Eastern Michigan University in 2016 and is in support of the new bill package. Her case is still in court, but she shared part of her story Wednesday, at a press conference for the bills. She said it took time to even process what happened to her then to later report it.

Read: Rape survivor says Eastern Michigan University discouraged her from filing report: ‘It needs to change’

“This type of trauma is something that is going to last with me and other survivors for the rest of our life. It’s not something we can process in a day, something we can even process in a couple of years,” said Bakos.

A 2020 national study shows the average age to report child abuse for childhood survivors of sexual assault is 52. That’s why Bakos said this bill package will better support survivors and hold perpetrators accountable.

“For something that’s going to effect me for my entire life, I shouldn’t be given such a short window to come forward and realize what happened and how to report it,” Bakos said.

The Sexual Assault Hotline is completely confidential and available 24/7 to call at 855-864-2374.

About the Author:

Megan Woods is thrilled to be back home and reporting at Local 4. She joined the team in September 2021. Before returning to Michigan, Megan reported at stations across the country including Northern Michigan, Southwest Louisiana and a sister station in Southwest Virginia.