Visitor Question

Severe physical abuse by stepfather over 30 years ago…

Submitted By: R (Washington)

I was brutally abused by my stepfather up until the time I moved out when I was 13. One of the earliest recollections was in 1976, and I didn’t realize until recently that my younger brother also remembers. I also didn’t realize how much it still bothers me emotionally.

I happened to talk to him the other day and he was unbelievably demeaning and condescending. I have had several breakdowns over it, including yesterday. I was punched, kicked, thrown across rooms, screamed at and humiliated.

The only thing that I think would make me feel better and give me some type of closure, other than the thought of returning the favor, is the possibility of restitution. He has A LOT of money and taking it would hurt him the most, especially his pride. He is a child abuser with a Napoleon complex.

Is there anything I can do about this, or is it too late? Some of his abuse was reported to CPS (Child Protective Services). I believe his abuse continued with my siblings after I left, and was also reported, so there is some proof. What can be done about this? Can charges be filed? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear R,

According to Section 4.16.340 of the State of Washington Revised Code, actions based on child abuse may be pursued under the following conditions and within the following times:

– Within 3 years after the act of sexual abuse

– Within 3 years after the time the victim discovered, or should have reasonably discovered the abuse

The time period, or “statute of limitations,” is tolled until the child reaches the age of 18. This means once you turned 18, you had 3 years within which to file charges against, or sue your stepfather.

If you are within the statute of limitations, immediately retain an attorney who will assist you in filing charges and filing a civil lawsuit against your step father.

To read the WA law regarding abuse go here.

Learn more here: About Child Abuse & Restitution

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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