We just finished up our annual child abuse prevention campaign and this is when I get the most questions asked. Great information to know about the time periods that you can report molestation. Is there a statute of limitations?

Michelle Heart/TSM Boise
Michelle Heart/TSM Boise

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and this is also the kick-off to our annual awareness campaign, Live For 175. We just celebrated ten years of spreading the message, "It Shouldn't Hurt to be a Child." The number of emails, phone calls, and in person confessions I've received is alarming. The scary part is how much you realize that it exists and how bad it can be.

For instance: Did you know that incest (sexual relations between family members or close relatives) is the most widespread form of sexual child abuse in the state of Idaho? I think growing up when I thought of things like abuse and rape, it was a person getting attacked in a dark alley. You watch movies or specials and that's just what you think. That's actually not even close to the truth.

Michelle Heart/TSM Boise
Michelle Heart/TSM Boise

Did you know that victims of sexual assault know their attacker 73% of the time? 38% were friends, 28% was an intimate partner, and 7% was a relative. That set of nationwide stats should shake you to the core. I really always thought of those tragic incidents as something that occurred from a stranger. You can see I was completely wrong.


What if you were to find out that someone you know was sexually assaulted a long time ago and finally had the courage to talk about it? That brings us to the question of the day.

Is there a statute of limitations on child molestation?

The statute of limitations is the amount of time that in which legal proceedings may be initiated. These vary from state to state. Here's how Idaho sets the statute of limitations on various crimes per the Idaho Legislature.

19-401.  NO STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR CERTAIN FELONIES. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, there is no limitation of time within which a prosecution for the following crimes must be commenced:
(1)  Murder;
(2)  Voluntary manslaughter;
(3)  Rape pursuant to section 18-6101(3) through (10), Idaho Code;
(4)  Sexual abuse of a child or lewd conduct with a child as set forth in sections 18-1506 and 18-1508, Idaho Code; or
(5)  An act of terrorism as set forth in sections 18-8102, 18-8103, 18-3322, 18-3323 and 18-3324, Idaho Code.
[19-401, added 1972, ch. 336, sec. 5, p. 986; am. 2000, ch. 277, sec. 2, p. 900; am. 2001, ch. 142, sec. 1, p. 507; am. 2003, ch. 280, sec. 2, p. 757; am. 2006, ch. 39, sec. 1, p. 116; am. 2010, ch. 352, sec. 9, p. 927; am. 2011, ch. 27, sec. 3, p. 69; am. 2016, ch. 296, sec. 11, p. 840.]
Are you or someone you know in need of help? We've set-up a Kiss of Kindness link to tips, phone numbers, and additional resources to assist you.

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