Map: How Long Does Your State Give Rape Survivors to Pursue Justice?

34 states have statutes of limitations on filing rape or sexual-assault charges.

In most states, a major barrier to bringing the perpetrators of rape and sexual assault to justice is baked into the law. Nationwide, 34 states and Washington, DC, have statutes of limitations on filing rape or sexual-assault charges, ranging from 3 to 30 years. In New Hampshire, charges must be filed within six years of a crime; in Connecticut, it’s five years. In Minnesota, it’s three. Some states tie the statute of limitations to reporting deadlines. If a survivor in Illinois comes forward within three years, the state has 10 years to file charges. If she takes longer than that, the case dies.

Twenty-seven states extend or suspend statutes of limitations if DNA evidence can identify a suspect, but these exemptions vary. Georgia puts no time limit on rape cases in which a DNA match has been made. In Indiana, prosecutors must charge a suspect within one year of a DNA match. In Connecticut, the crime must be initially reported within five years for any future DNA match to be considered.

 

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

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In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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