President Piñera passes law declaring sex crimes against minors imprescriptible: “Time will never again be an accomplice to those who abuse our children”.
The new law offers victims the opportunity to turn to the justice system without the pressure of time limits and allows for compensatory actions to be ordered against those who have perpetrated sex crimes, including third parties who failed to prevent them.
On Thursday, President Sebastián Piñera enacted a law that declares sex crimes against children and teenagers imprescriptible, which means that the passage of time will no longer favor impunity.
Victims will now have the right to pursue claims whenever they feel ready to do so without the pressure of preset statutes of limitations.
“Beginning today, the passage of time will never again be an accomplice to those who abuse our children, or an ally of impunity,” the President said. He was joined by Justice and Human Rights Minister Hernán Larraín, Minister Secretary General of the Presidency Gonzalo Blumel and Social Development and Family Minister Sebastián Sichel.
The former statute of limitations was insufficient to guarantee victims access to justice given that the law stated that the deadline for pursuing legal action was five to ten years after the victim entered adulthood.
The new law allows those criminally responsible for such crimes to be pursued indefinitely and for compensatory claims to be made against them and third parties. This includes individuals and institutions who failed to prevent the crime, which also represents a change from the previous legislation.
“The meaning of this law is quite simple: if the marks, scars and pain of the crimes committed against sexually abused children never expire and are never erased, the criminal responsibility of the abusers cannot ever be erased, much less expire,” the President said. He was joined by senators, members of Congress and civil society stakeholders who have been part of the struggle around this issue, including Vinka Jackson and James Hamilton.
At the event, President Piñera also announced that the government will treat as extremely urgent the bill to improve the Sex Offender Registry, which was unanimously approved by Congress and seeks to prohibit individuals convicted of sex crimes from working with children.