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General Assembly increases support  for sexual assault victims

Legislation that gives sexual assault victims more time to file a civil lawsuit against  their attacker has been unanimously approved by the Tennessee General  Assembly. 

House Bill 2216, also known as Danielle’s Law, will extend the statute of limitations  from one year to three years for civil lawsuits relating to a sexual assault injury or  illness. The time would increase to five years if a police report was filed.

“This allows survivors to have time to process the trauma and navigate the legal  process,” said bill sponsor State Rep. Sam Whitson, R-Franklin. “There have been cases where rape kits have not been processed within a  year of the assault occurring, leaving survivors with no option to pursue civil action.”

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The legislation is named after Nashville resident Danielle Pyle, who found out 13  months after filing a police report that the local district attorney’s office had  declined to pursue charges against her alleged rapist. Existing state law prevented her from  taking civil action since it had been more than one year since the crime occurred. 

House Bill 2216 will now head to Gov. Bill Lee’s desk to be signed into law.

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