RALEIGH, N.C. — On Wednesday, Gov. Roy Cooper signed Senate Bill 199, a bill to modernize sexual abuse laws as well as strengthen enforcement and protection for children who have been abused. 

The new law will close loopholes in current sexual assault laws as well as strengthen penalties against child abusers. Previously, North Carolina had lagged the nation in closing loopholes in sexual assault laws, including consent revocation and intoxication by alcohol.

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“For too long, North Carolina has not protected sexual abuse victims the same ways other states have, and this law closes that consent loophole,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “This bipartisan legislation goes a long way to protect all victims of sexual assault, especially children, and will help more people seek justice against abusers.”

Attorney Josh Stein also played a role in organizing the legislation and advocacy for the bill.

“Keeping children safe from abuse and violence is job one for parents and for the state. The SAFE Child Act does exactly that, and I am proud that my office drafted and championed the law. It will make sure abuse is reported and prosecuted – allowing more victims to see justice and putting abusers behind bars. It will better protect kids online from sexual predators. And it will allow adults who were violated as children to sue their abusers in court for the damages they suffered,” said Attorney General Josh Stein.

According to a release from the Office of Governor Roy Cooper, 81 percent of women in North Carolina have reported experiencing at least one negative outcome due to their experience with intimate partner violence, with 56 percent developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms.

The law goes into effect December 1, 2019.

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