New York passed the Child Victims Act: What does this mean for survivors of childhood sexual abuse?
On January 28, 2019, after many years of survivors and advocates fighting to change the laws, the New York State Senate finally passed the Child Victims Act, S. 2440. This law supports survivors of childhood sexual abuse and assault by lengthening the time that a survivor can bring a case in court against their perpetrator. Now, survivors have until they are 55 years old to bring a law suit against their perpetrator and liable institutions for the harms that they suffered from the abuse.
In addition, survivors have 1 year and 6 months from when the Child Victims Act is signed into law to bring a law suit for claims that were previously too old to bring under New York laws.
“The Child Victims Act will raise the criminal statute of limitations for child sexual abuse crimes by five years and raise the civil statute of limitations for causes of action brought by someone seeking redress for physical, psychological or other injury caused by child sexual abuse to age 55. Additionally, this legislation will create a one-year window, starting six months from the effective date of the bill, for past victims of child sexual abuse to initiate lawsuits against their abusers and the public and private institutions that let the abuse happen.” (Press Release, NY State Senate, Jan. 28, 2019).
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign the Child Victims Act into law this month.