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Public Policy

The 2014 Hawai'i State Legislative Session

During the 2014 legislative session, the Sex Abuse Treatment Center (SATC) tracked over one hundred bills and resolutions relating directly or indirectly to sexual violence in a number of areas of the law, including Hawai‘i’s penal code, public safety, family courts and victims’ rights. Six bills supported by SATC passed this session.

Hawai‘i lawmakers unanimously passed two bills supported by SATC this session that are particularly important for survivors of sexual violence.

Act 113 (HB 2034)

removes the statute of limitations for criminal actions arising from sexual assault in the first and second degrees and continuous sexual assault of a minor under the age of fourteen.

Act 112 (SB 2687)

extends the period during which a survivor of child sexual abuse can bring a time-barred civil action against the perpetrator or the negligent entity owing a duty of care to the survivor of child sex abuse, including State entities that were previously exempt, to April 24, 2016.

Both bills recognize how common it is for survivors of sexual assault, especially children, to wait some time before telling anyone about the assault. These bills allow survivors of sexual assault more time to come forward and pursue legal action to hold abusers accountable. SATC also authored an opinion-editorial article on the bills that was published in the Star Advertiser to thank the legislature for its support and encourage approval by Governor Neil Abercrombie. The Governor signed both bills on June 20, 2014.

A number of other measures related to sexual violence are also noteworthy, these include: H.R 7 and H.C.R. 12, which require a report from the University of Hawai‘i on the status of compliance with Title IX and Violence Against Women Act; S.B. 702, which creates a fund to support the investigation of internet crimes against children; H.B. 2038, which creates a fund to support services for victims of trafficking; and H.B. 1750, which makes it illegal to knowingly disclose an image or video of another in the nude or engaging in sexual conduct with the intent to harm.

These measures contribute substantively to improve our state's response to sexual violence, by allowing the development and implementation of additional resources to better help survivors, their families, and their communities throughout the islands. These updated state laws better reflect a current understanding of sexual violence and how it should be addressed.

If you would like additional information regarding this legislative session or the SATC's public policy advocacy, please contact us at 808-535-7600 or via our website contact form.