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Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children

by Marci A. Hamilton

Published by Cambridge University Press

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There is a silent epidemic of childhood sexual abuse in the United States, but our legal system is not effectively protecting the most innocent from predators. Recent coverage of widespread abuse in schools and in churches has brought the once-taboo subject of childhood sexual abuse to the forefront. Despite increased awareness of this crisis, the United States has not succeeded in establishing effective means of deterring and preventing abuse or providing justice to victims.

Popular legal fixes, like sex offender registries, increased sentences, and pedophile-free zones, are ineffective without acknowledging that the problem extends well beyond schools and churches. The vast majority of survivors are sexually abused by family or family acquaintances -- with 90 percent of abuse never being reported to the authorities.

In Justice Denied, Marci A. Hamilton proposes a comprehensive yet simple solution: eliminate the arbitrary statutes of limitations for childhood sexual abuse so that survivors past and present can get into court. Most states have such short statutes of limitations that survivors cannot get to court before the doors are locked shut. Removing this arbitrary barrier would permit survivors to unmask their perpetrators and open a path to justice and public vindication.


pub date: 2008-05-08 | hardcover | 9780521886215