Law & Legal & Attorney Children Law

Massachusetts' Statute of Limitations on Child Abuse

    What is Abuse?

    • Abuse occurs when a non-accidental act committed by another individual causes physical or emotional injury to the child. Neglect is also a form of abuse and occurs when the child is not provided with adequate food, clothing, shelter or medical care.

    Sexual Abuse of a Child

    • The age of consent in the state of Massachusetts is 16, so any sexual act committed against a child under the age of 16 constitutes sexual abuse. However, any non-consensual sexual act committed against a child under the age of 18 also constitutes sexual abuse.

    Statute of Limitations on Filing

    • The statute of limitations for criminal actions filed against an alleged abuser is 27 years after the incident was first reported or 27 years after the child turned 16. Under the statute of limitations, a civil case must be filed either within three years of the actual act of abuse or three years from the time that the victim understood the act to be abuse.

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