Laws in North Carolina
Attorney General Stein and the Department of Justice have undertaken several initiatives in the past years to end the sexual assault kit backlog, give sexual assault victims and survivors more legal tools and protections to process their crime, and help the criminal justice system hold offenders accountable and keep the public safe.
The 2019 mandated kit inventory identified approximately 16,000 untested sexual assault kits in local law enforcement offices around the state. Attorney General Stein drafted and championed the Survivor Act, which became law in 2019. The Survivor Act is aimed at testing all untested kits in North Carolina and preventing backlogs from occurring in the future.
Safe Child Act
The SAFE Child Act, spearheaded by Attorney General Stein, also became law in 2019. The legislation protects children from abuse in person and online and modernizes sexual assault laws in North Carolina. That means that if you’re 18 years or older, and you know a child is being abused, you must report it to your local law enforcement agency.
The law also extends the statute of limitations to bring certain criminal actions against people who have allegedly committed child abuse. A prosecutor will now have up to 10 years, instead of the original two years, after the date of an alleged incident to bring a misdemeanor criminal child abuse charge.
The legislation also helps victims hold their abusers accountable for the harm they suffered by increasing the amount of time that a person who was sexually abused as a minor can file a civil lawsuit against their abuser – from the age of 21 to 28. Anyone who was originally barred from taking civil action because of the old statute of limitations, no matter their age, will have two years to file an action under the SAFE Child Act. That two-year period went into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, and will end on Dec. 31, 2021.
Other North Carolina Laws
Sexual assault and rape are serious crimes in North Carolina. Victims of rape and sexual assault have the right to take legal action to end the abuse. Attorney General Stein works to hold perpetrators of sexual violence responsible for the crimes they commit, and provide some measure of justice for survivors.
You can find the general statute for rape and other sex offenses here.