I was abused as child but never came forward, can I still sue?
Yes! A new bill has passed in 2019 called The Child Victims Act that allows new provisions for victims of sexual assault or abuse as a child. Time is limited, so read on to learn about an important “one year look back window”.
Child Victims Act Provisions
Before the passage of this bill, child survivors of sexual abuse had until the age of 23 to bring forth a civil case. To bring a felony or misdemeanor child sex abuse case, the victim would have until they were 28 or 25 respectively. With the passage of The Child Victims Act, changes to the statute of limitations benefit the victims.
Changes to Statute of Limitations for Child Victims of Sexual Assault
- Extends the statute of limitations for criminal sex cases involving children under the age of 18
- Extends the statute of limitations for civil sex abuse cases until the survivor turns 55 (up from 23)
- Creates a one-year window to revive old cases time-barred under current law, and will treat public and private institutions the same when it comes to child sex abuse. Before the passage of this bill, someone abused in a public institution like a school can only sue if they file a notice of claim within 90 days of the attack.
New Hope for Survivors
Coming forward in a sexual assault case is difficult for any survivor, but it can be especially difficult for minors. Children may often have difficulty grasping and coping with what happened to them, as their mental and physical development may not reach full capacity at the time of the abuse. Additionally, many child sex abuse cases involve trusted abusers such as teachers or doctors; people in positions of power over the child. These relationship dynamics can make it even more difficult for minors to come forward. This bill now gives survivors more time to understand their experience and ultimately take legal action against their abusers.
Unfortunately sexual assault against children often occurs in places where children believe they are safe. Churches, schools, doctor’s offices and family homes become a place of horrific neglect and abuse. It’s a parent’s worst nightmare. This nightmare also becomes something a child often lives with for far too long in silence.
Child Sexual Abuse and Molestation Civil Claims
The law is now on your side with the passage of The Child Victims Act but you will want a skilled sex crimes lawyer to explain the next steps to take. Our compassionate experienced attorneys can explain the process and go into more detail about the new changes in law. With the year-long look back window to submit a claim regardless of the victim’s age, it’s important to bring a claim against the abuser and institution now. If you or a loved one is a survivor, let our team help you bring those responsible for your abuse to justice. Contact us at 516-222-4000 and arrange for a confidential appointment to begin discussing your legal options. The consultation is free.