Governor signs law expanding statute of limitations for sexual assault prosecutions

The statute of limitations on rape was limiting justice for rape survivors. That's now changed, but it's taken five years of painful work.

As Governor Inslee singed the new law today, Dinah Griffey stood with her husband Dan. He's one of the lead sponsors.

Later she said it sends a powerful message of support to survivors, that they are believed.

“And those words 'we believe you' mean more to survivors -- more than almost anything -- and now the state of Washington is in support of them and they know it,” Griffey said.

The legislation doubles from 10 years to 20 years the statute of limitations for many sexual assaults of adults.

And it eliminates the statute of limitations for child rape.

Sexual Assault survivors repeatedly shared their pain in public testimony.

“I testified three times in a row. it as traumatic, it was hard. And I couldn't believe the third time I had to come back and do it again but I was willing to do it in order to make this change,” said Lisa Blume.

Christina-Marie Wright added, “It's for everyone else who has been harmed as a child. They will have until eternity if they need to seek justice and that makes a huge difference. Justice is a huge part of healing.”

Redmond Senator Manka Dhingra the new law recognizes it can take decades before survivors build the strength to come forward.

“This is why this bill is so important because it really lines up what we know about trauma with our current system.”

Allyn Representative Dan Griffey said, “We don't have to tell the story much more. What we need to do now is find them, convict them, and throw them in prison for what they did.”

For survivors, a moment of satisfaction.

“I feel powerful, I've come to realize how much our voices matter,” said Wright

The new law is not retroactive. So, it won’t help the survivors who fought to get it enacted.

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