New York’s Child Victims Act has exposed institutions and individuals who care for children to civil litigation for claims of child sexual abuse regardless of how long ago the abuse allegedly happened.
Before the enactment of this statute, an individual who claimed to have been sexually abused or assaulted as a child was required to file a civil suit before the age of 21. The exceptions to this statutory period for filing a claim were insignificant and had little effect on the statute. This in effect barred claims by individuals who had already turned 21.
The Great Impact of the Child Victims Act
Under the New York’s Child Victims Act, which was signed by New York Gov. Cuomo on February 14, 2019:
“…every civil claim or cause of action brought against any party alleging intentional or negligent acts or omissions by a person for physical, psychological or other injury or condition suffered as a result of conduct which would constitute a sexual defense as defined in article one hundred thirty of the penal law committed against a child less than eighteen years of age … which is barred … because the applicable period of limitations has expired … is hereby revived.”
In plain English, this means that all sexual abuse claims that would otherwise be time-barred have been revived and the victims are able to file lawsuits for monetary compensation against any party they claim to be responsible for the abuse during a one-year period beginning at the statute’s effective date on August 14, 2019. Any plaintiff may file a lawsuit for money damages for sex abuse regardless of how long ago the abuse allegedly took place.
If a plaintiff fails to file suit within the one-year revival period must file lawsuits for sex abuse before their 55th birthday. In other words, after the revival period ends in August 2020, individuals alleging sexual abuse will have until they reach 55 years old to commence a civil lawsuit.
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.