New York Passes Child Victims Act

The New York state legislature voted to pass the Child Victims Act, a bill that extends the statute of limitations for sexual crimes committed against children. The bill comes in a very important time in the state’s history as legislators are striving to empower survivors of sexual abuse in wake of the #MeToo movement and scandals within the Catholic Church. Private and public entities will be treated the same under the Child Victims Act. Previously, public entities had a shorter limitations period because of the requirement to give notice to sue within 90 days of the assault.

Child Victims Act Provisions

Before the passage of this bill, child survivors of sex crimes were only given 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. The current provisions listed in the bill will bring a number of changes to the way New York handles child sex abuse crimes and their statute of limitations.

The Child Victims Act will:

  • Extend the statute of limitations for criminal sex cases involving children under the age of 18
  • Extend the statute of limitations for civil sex abuse cases until the survivor turns 55
  • Open a one-year window for past victims to file civil child sexual abuse civil claims, regardless of when it happened

A Step Forward for Survivors

Coming forward in a sexual assault case is difficult for any survivor, but it can be especially difficult for minors. Minors 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. Further, many child sex abuse cases involve trusted or close abusers in positions of power over the child. These relationship dynamics can make it even more difficult for minors to come forward. This bill will grant survivors more time to understand their experience and ultimately take legal action against their abusers.

Unfortunately, child sex crimes happen in places that are supposed to be safe havens for young, vulnerable children. Churches, schools, doctor’s offices, and family homes can all be turned into horrific places of abuse and neglect. Increasing the statute of limitations for these sorts of civil cases to be brought forward will allow survivors of abuse more time to regain their sense of stability and a sense of self back from the abusers that stole their childhood.

Child Sex Crimes Civil Claims

A compassionate and skilled civil sex crimes lawyer can be a valuable asset as the law changes and the landscape of child sex crimes shifts. With the extension on the statute of limitations, and particularly the year-long window to submit a claim regardless of the victim’s age, the time to bring justice and file your case is now. If you or a loved one is a survivor, let our staff know how we can help empower you to share your story and bring those responsible for your abuse to justice. Reach out and arrange for an appointment to begin discussing your legal options.

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