Long Island Initial Consultation with a Sexual Assault Victim
Many sexual assault survivors do not know what to do or how to proceed. While that may be difficult to understand for someone who has never been involved in a sexual assault case, an experienced attorney would know that someone who has been sexually victimized will likely feel lost, ashamed, or unsure about what to do.
Fortunately, the client, in this case, came in a week after the assault, explained everything that occurred in detail, and discussed most of what they knew at that early stage, at which point the details of their physical and emotional injuries were unknown until much later. The conversation detailed the history and relationship between the client and their assailant, the incident, and what occurred immediately after the assault.
The client called the firm because they wanted to have some understanding of their role would in the criminal process and what other rights they might have, but some people do not contact an attorney for weeks or even months afterwards.
Statute of Limitations for Sexual Assault in Long Island
Fortunately, victims of sexual assault in New York have quite a long time to file a lawsuit against their perpetrator. In September of 2019, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a new statute of limitations for sexual assault victims. The law states that the statute of limitations for reporting second-degree rape has increased to 20 years. The statute of limitations for reporting third-degree rape has increased to ten years. The previous statute of limitations on both was five years.
The law also eliminates the statute of limitations for incest in the first degree, and increases the statute to 20 years for incest in the second degree. The new statute of limitations for third-degree criminal sex acts has also been increased to ten years. The statute for filing a lawsuit against a perpetrator of sexual assault is now also 20 years.
The new statute of limitations is intended to provide more justice to victims of sexual assault. Under the previous law, five years simply did not give victims the time they needed to start their recovery process and report the assault.
Earlier this year, Chris Cuomo also passed the Child Victims Act. This legislation allows victims of child sexual assault to file felony charges until they are 28, and pursue a lawsuit until they turn 55 years old.
Essential Steps to Take When Filing a Claim for Sexual Assault
About ten months after the incident, the client’s attorney sent a letter to the assailant letting them know that the firm is representing the client in a civil matter and that they should find themselves a lawyer to defend them.
In this case, keeping the attorneys up-to-date with what was going on in the criminal case was essential, like in any criminal case. While an attorney might touch base with the district attorney, the district attorney has more communication with the client than with an attorney. The attorneys knew when there was a hearing coming up and when negotiations were coming up, and the client’s diligent follow-ups allowed the attorneys to be present when the assailant pleaded to the crime.