Members of the New York State Assembly and Senate passed more than a dozen bills on Wednesday, May 27th, including a measure giving victims of childhood sexual abuse more time to sue the responsible parties. The new bill, once signed into law by Gov. Cuomo, will extend the lookback window of the Child Victims Act (CVA) for an additional year until August 14, 2021.
The passage of this bill occurred quickly, as the legislative term ends June 2nd. Bill sponsor Brad Hoylman cited the reasons for the extension as being the lack of access to the courts as a result of COVID-19, as well as the fact that victims of childhood sexual abuse had more immediate financial concerns to deal with as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, so they needed more time to file suit.
Victims Deserve More Time to File Claims
The Child Victims Act was originally signed into law on January 28, 2019. The law provided a one-year lookback window until August 14, 2020 for victims to file claims. With the outbreak of the coronavirus, the New York State Office of Court Administration (OCA) issued an order suspending the filing of all non-essential claims, including claims within the CVA window.
Although Gov. Cuomo issued an executive order suspending specific time limits for the commencement, filing or service of any legal actions, CVA advocates were concerned that these orders did not include actions filed under the CVA lookback window.
This extension is necessary because of the reduced court services prompted by the outbreak of COVID-19. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, one year was simply not enough time for victims of childhood sexual abuse to file claim. Now that COVID-19 has upturned nearly every aspect of life, survivors need even more time to file claims.
If you or a loved one is the victim of child 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.