New York State has failed to pass the Child Victims Act for twelve years. This law would allow people who were sexually abused as minors to file a civil suit until age 50. Currently, victims of childhood sexual abuse in New York State must pursue a civil claim or criminal charges before the age of 23, which one of the shortest statutes of limitations in the country. If passed, the Child Victims Act would create a one-year window for victims of childhood sexual abuse to file a civil lawsuit. Right now, they can’t because of by the current statute of limitations.
Most childhood sexual abuse victims don’t come forward for years after the abuse occurred. When the abuser was a trusted person, like a priest, the victim has complex emotional issues and fear. Many states have recognized that the victim’s fear of coming forward is no reason to protect anyone who has sexually abused a child. New York is not one of them. It’s time for New York to pass the Child Victims Act.