On August 14, 2019, New York State will open a One Year Retroactive Revival Window for Victims of Child Sexual Abuse and expand the statute of limitations. So, what does that mean?
1. What is a Statute of Limitations and a Retroactive Revival Window?
A statute of limitations (“SOL”) is a restriction by law that sets the maximum period of time that an injured party can bring an action in a court of law.
•It’s a deadline to file your law suit.
•Very harmful for child abuse victims because of delayed discovery
•The Child Victims Act changed the previous harsh statute of limitations that severely restricted child sex abuse victims from access to the courts.
•“Window = a law that eliminates the civil SOL for all victims, even if the SOL has expired”
•“Retroactive = applicable to acts that occurred before the date of enactment of the law” (ChildUSA.org available at: https://www.childusa.org/sol).
•Generally, opened for a short period of time and once it is closed the previously time barred claims can no longer be brought.
2. What Does the Window Have to do with the new NY Child Victims Act?
The New Law opens the one year retroactive revival window for all victims who could not bring claims because of the prior statute of limitations that time-barred their recovery (i.e., a court deadline that passed and prevented them from filing a law suit)
•Victims who never brought a case, law suit, or claim before, and
•Victims who brought a case/claim to the court, and their case/claim was dismissed based on the statute of limitations, a notice of claim, or a notice of intent requirement.
•Age does NOT matter under the window. A victim can be older or younger than age 55.
3. What is SUPER important to know about the new statute of limitations for child sexual abuse victims? (the Non-"Window” part of the law)
Under the new Child Victims Act, Section 2 (b), a victim of child sexual abuse now has until they reach the age of 55 years old to bring a civil law suit. The Child Victim Act extended the Statute of Limitations (court deadline) in order for victims to finally have access to restorative justice through the civil justice system.
• THIS SECTION ONLY APPLIES TO CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE THAT WAS NOT TIME-BARRED AS OF FEBRUARY 14, 2019. Victims of abuse that were previously time-barred (the statute of limitation already ran) do NOT have until age 55 to bring a claim. IF YOUR TIME TO FILE A LAW SUIT ALREADY PAST BEFORE FEBRUARY 14, 2019, THEN YOU MUST FILE A LAW SUIT IN THE “WINDOW.”
•For example, a victim that suffered child sexual abuse in 1994 and is now 34 years old, does NOT have until she is 55 years old to bring a civil case.