On February 14, 2019, New York Governor Cuomo signed the Child Victims Act into law, cutting much of the procedural red tape for child sexual victims for years from bringing criminal charges and filing civil lawsuits for damages and harms caused by abuse and assault.
Unfortunately, sexual abuse and assault is a sad reality in this world. Children are not respected and safeguarded as they ought to be. More and more we learn about children having been sexually abused by individuals who were entrusted with their care – pastors, teachers, rabbis, scout leaders. These abusers cause severe physical, emotional and psychological trauma to their young victims that can last for years or even a lifetime.
Delay if Reporting Child Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse is a complicated matter that is not easy for most children to freely discuss with their parents or guardians. Fear of repercussions, an inability to articulate or fully understand what happened, and misplaced emotions of guilt and shame all can stifle a victim into silence that can last for years, well into adulthood. This silence should not, however, be mistaken for retroactive consent, a waiver of rights, or an absolution of their sexual abusers.
For too long New York’s restrictive statutes of limitations and notice of claim requirements kept childhood sexual abuse victims from pursuing their valid claims against their abusers. New York previously had one of the most restrictive statute of limitations with respect to sexual abuse. As such, sexual offenders were going unpunished because they were let off the procedural hook based on expiration of statute of limitations – until the Child Victims Act.
After more than a decade of lobbying, advocates for changes in the New York state statute of limitations got what they wanted when the state legislature approved the Child Victims Act. The Act was signed into law by Governor Cuomo in February 2019. The Child Victims Act allows child sex abuse victims to sue and file criminal charges regardless of how old they are.
The Child Victims Act Gives Child Sexual Abuse Victims More Time to Sue
The Child Victims Act loosens the statutes of limitations on child sexual abuse and molestation. The act also creates a one-year litigation window for victims of child sex abuse to file civil lawsuits.
The new law replaces what was one of the most restrictive statutes of limitations when it comes to child sex abuse. Victims now have until 55 years of age to file civil lawsuits and seek criminal charges until age 28, as opposed to 23 under the old statute.
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.