Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Carol Murphy sponsored legislation to create the Sexual Assault Victim’s Bill of Rights, which cleared the New Jersey legislature Monday, March 25, 2019 with final passage in the Assembly at 77-0. State legislators passed the bill despite fierce opposition from the Catholic Church, giving victims of sexual assault in New Jersey significantly more time to file lawsuits against their abusers.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is expected to sign the bill, which had been stalled in the state legislature for more than two decades.
Details of the NJ Sexual Assault Victim’s Bill of Rights
The Sexual Assault Victim’s Bill of Rights allows adults who were sexually assaulted as children to bring a civil lawsuit against an individual or institution, including non-profits, up until the age of 55 or seven years after they make “the discovery” connecting their emotional and psychological injury to their abuse.
In addition, victims who were previously barred from bringing a lawsuit because they had run out of the time under the existing law will have an additional two-year window to pursue their case.
The first two of eleven rights included in the Sexual Assault Victim’s Bill of Rights are:
(1) to have any allegation of sexual assault treated seriously; to be treated with dignity and compassion; and to be notified of existing medical, counseling, mental health, or other services available for victims of sexual assault, whether or not the crime is reported to law enforcement; and
(2) to be free, to the extent consistent with the New Jersey and United States Constitutions, from any suggestion that victims are responsible for the commission of crimes against them or that victims were contributorily negligent or assumed the risk of being assaulted.
The full list of rights can be viewed here.
The New Jersey Sexual Assault Victim’s Bill of Rights passed approximately two months after New York passed a similar law, the Child Victims Act.
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If you or a loved one is the victim of childhood school sexual abuse, you need to know how the Child Victims Act can help you get the justice you deserve. For more information or to better understand how this law can help you, please call our professional help center at 212-385-4410.