New York has extended the criminal and civil statutes of limitations for child sex abuse.
Child Victims Act Passes in New York State Legislature
New York state legislators have passed a new law called the Child Victims Act, which will extend both the criminal and civil statutes of limitations in cases of child sexual abuse. Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that he will sign this act into law. The Act passed in the Assembly by 130-3 and in the Senate by 63-0.
Under current rules, victims are required to file lawsuits or seek criminal charges by the time they’re 23 years old. This new law extends that age to 55 for lawsuits and 28 for criminal charges.
Additionally, the bill has a one-year-window which allows anyone to bring a lawsuit for cases that have already passed the current statute of limitations. This means that for one year after the bill is signed into law, sexual abuse victims can bring lawsuits regardless of when the abuse occurred.
Survivors and advocates pushed hard for this legislation for years, saying that for many victims, it can take years or even decades to come forward. They hope that this new law will make it easier for survivors to find justice as adults for the abuse they suffered as children.
The Catholic Church was originally a major opponent of the Child Victims Act, but dropped its opposition last week when lawmakers added a revision that would treat public and private schools and organizations the same way.