(Wichita)—Rape victims will soon have more time to report the crime. Kansas had one of the shortest statute of limitations in the nation, but now that is changing thanks to a new bill just passed in Topeka.
Guadalupe Magdaleno first found out about the issue when she met a rape victim who couldn't press charges against her attacker.
"I will never forget that day because she said what can we do to change the statute of limitation, and I'm like what are you talking about," Magdaleno said. "(she said) that is what is not allowing me to seek justice, who do we talk to?"
She turned to two Wichita lawmakers, who listened to more victims in the same situation
"After hearing their stories I thought we have got to do something about this," said Wichita Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau.
That's why both lawmakers authored a new bill to lengthen the statute of limitations. Under the current law, rape victims have five years to report the crime. The new bill pushes that to ten years and if the victim is a child, the ten years will start when they turn 18-years old.
"Ultimately we want children to fell comfortable in reporting when child abuse has occurred to them, when sexual abuse in particular has occurred, but there is lots of different reasons why they may not report right away," said Sedgwick County Child Advocacy Center Executive Director Diana Schunn.
Soon, those victims will have more time. The bill got bi-partisan support and was passed unanimously in both the Kansas House and Senate
"It's a step in the right direction, it's getting our foot in the door," said Wichita Representative Ponka-We Vickers. "Maybe later on down the line we can revisit this issue and push the age limit back or do with no statute of limitations."
But this bill is not retroactive, so it won't be able to help the victims who shared their story with lawmakers to make this change happen. Many of them plan go to Topeka to watch Governor Sam Brownback sign the bill into law.
A date for that signing ceremony has not yet been set.