ROCKFORD (WREX) — Starting January 1st, sex crime survivors will no longer have a time limit to prosecute their perpetrators.
Governor Pritzker signed a law that drops the statute of limitations to report a sex crime.
Meaning whether its 10 or 50 years ago, a survivor can come forward and a suspect can be prosecuted.
“We want that option for victims that whenever they are ready, whenever they reach that point in their recovery, they can come forward to law enforcement,” said Rockford Police Lieutenant Kurt Whisenand.
It’s something Executive Director of Rockford’s Sexual Assault Counseling Maureen Mostacci said is a step in the right direction.
“What it gives survivors is the opportunity to be in a place to go through that process,” said Mostacci.
Mostacci says one in every four women is a victim of a sex crime, and are most likely also combating domestic violence.
Whisenand. said it’s not random strangers typically assaulting victims.
“An overwhelming majority of the victims are attacked by people they know,” said Lt. Whisenand.
That’s another reason he said some survivors are hesitant to report the abuse.
But with this new law in place, both officials and counselors said they hope more people will come forward and report those people regardless of their relationship.
“I think we are going to see some women coming forward who back in their day, weren’t able to do that,”said Mostacci.
“It’s really about the victims and what is best for them, what they are comfortable with. It’s really not what is best for prosecutors or law enforcement,”said Whisenand.
Illinois already removed the statute of limitations for reporting sex crimes for survivors 18 and younger back in 2017