In February 2019, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the New York State Child Victims Act (CVA) into law. The Act is a groundbreaking piece of legislation that provides victims of child abuse additional time to file criminal and civil claims. Prior to the passage of this law, child sex abuse victims could file criminal claims up to age 23, and they could file civil claims within a fixed time period.
The Child Victims Act extends the time for filing criminal cases to age 28 and created a statute of limitations for civil claims that is also based on age, not on time elapsed since the abuse. Victims of child sexual abuse can now file civil claims in the state of New York until age 55. This is true no matter how long ago the abuse took place.
One-Year Time Frame to File Claims
In addition, victims who were previously barred from pursuing claims now have a one-year window of time (from August 14, 2019 through August 14, 2020) to file a cause of action. Section 2 of the CVA provides that the time for a minor to file a sexual abuse related claim is now 55 years old.
However, Section 3 of the CVA, which sets forth the one-year window, provides that any cause of action or civil claim that “is barred as of the effective date of this section because the applicable statute of limitations has expired” . . . “is hereby revived” and action thereon must be brought within the one year window (i.e., August 14, 2019 through August 14, 2020).
For practical purposes, any person who was 23-years-old or older on February 14, 2019 must file a sex abuse related action against the appropriate defendants within the revival window (August 14, 2019 through August 14, 2020) or be forever time-barred from asserting a viable claims.
As a matter of sound practice, and to avoid any accrual misinterpretations or analyses, all sex abuse related cases that fall within the one-year revival window should be filed no later than August 13, 2020.
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.