Sexual abuse and exploitation of children are among the most disturbing crimes. Yet, until today, New York’s laws failed to afford the adequate protection victims need and deserve. Yesterday, the law required survivors of sexual abuse to file charges against their offender before most could possibly process and confront an experience so traumatic. It effectively shields predators from culpability at the expense of their victims’ justice.
Today, Governor Cuomo signed the Child Victims Act into law – a life-changing victory. The new law provides survivors of sexual abuse with the chance to demand justice in ways they were deprived of before and reclaim integrity they were previously refused.
What The New Law Does
- Extends the time survivors of sexual abuse have to bring criminal and civil charges against their abusers;
- Revives past claims of abuse that were dismissed;
- Holds sexual offenders accountable for crimes they would have evaded before;
- And renders public and private institutions more susceptible to liability.
Who Is Protected
Persons of all ages were sexually offended when they were under 18.
The One-Year Rule
The following persons have one year to file charges or will lose the right to do so:
- Anyone the age of 55 and older;
- Anyone who previously filed a claim that was dismissed due to time restrictions;
- And anyone who previously filed a dismissed claim for failing to file a Notice of Claim or Notice of Intention to File a Claim.
The New Time Period
Any person who was sexually abused as a child may:
- File a civil lawsuit against any party whose conduct resulted in the abuse on or before they reach the age of 55;
- Or file criminal charges against their offender before they reach the age of 28.
The impact traumatic experiences have on its survivors is one only they can truly understand. Repressing the memory, confronting the assailant, denying anything happened, confiding in friends, distancing family, finding some outlet – there are endless ways to cope. The Child Victims Act, however, provides survivors of sexual abuse with another option – seizing the power and security of those who once deprived them of it.
If you were a victim of sexual abuse as a child, it is your time to demand justice and let your voice be heard. The compassionate and experienced attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP understand that nothing can undo the damage done. But holding those accountable can provide emotional, mental, and financial support. As hard as taking the first step toward justice can be, embrace the strength you have. You are a survivor and control your future, not a victim confined to the past.