Understanding the New York Child Victims Act and the NEW Statute of Limitations
An estimated 12-40% of children in the United States experience some form of child sexual abuse. There are many reasons that prevent survivors from disclosing abuse. It can be decades before survivors of abuse can speak about it.
Children are vulnerable to exploitation and deception, especially under the supervision of a teacher or clergy member. Seeking justice from an abuser takes courage and trusted support. In the past, abused children had until their 23rd birthday to stand up and accuse their abuser in a civil lawsuit.
As a result, many adults never saw justice served.
Why? In many cases, simply because they were not ready to tell what happened before the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse ran out.
The New York Child Victims Act has changed those limits. Read on to learn more.
The New York Statute of Limitations for Child Sex Crimes has changed
Survivors and their supporters have been pressing for passage of the Child Victims Act for 12 years. In early 2019, it was brought to a vote and passed unanimously. On February 14, 2019, Cuomo signed the bill.
FOR THE FUTURE: New Abuse Victims will have until age 28 to file criminal charges and to age 55 to file a civil lawsuit
The new law extends the statute of limitations for children currently being abused. This is to give children until age 28 to seek criminal charges or until the age of 55 to sue their abusers.
FOR THE PAST: Old Abuse Survivors will have a one year look-back window to file a lawsuit for old cases. NO AGE LIMIT
The new law also opens a one year window for adult victims who were previously prevented by the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse to file suit and get the justice they deserve. The window opens on August 14, 2019 through August 13, 2020. The Child Victims Act lookback window is for adult survivors denied justice in the past by the statute of limitations. Lawsuits can be filed against abusers and institutions.
IT MAY NOT MATTER IF THE ABUSER HAS DIED.
The Open Window to Seek Justice
The Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts of America and many other institutions opposed the new statute of limitations laws for years. They dropped their opposition in early 2019, in part due to public outcry. Adult survivors may seek justice from private and public institutions equally.
If you were a victim of childhood abuse and the statute of limitations for sex crimes expired before you found the strength to speak out, you now have a chance to see justice done. The one year window for those adults who missed their first opportunity to seek a civil suit against abusers opens in the summer of 2019 through the summer of 2020.
Attorney Steve Boyd has been investigating child sexual abuse since 1993. He has become an advocate for survivors and their families. Our firm can guide you through the process and help you find the healing and justice you need. You can contact online by clicking here or call us at 585-600-2019 or 716-400-0000.