Child Victims Act
Sexual abuse and exploitation of children are among the most disturbing of crimes. Yet historically, New York’s laws have failed to afford adequate protection the victims both need and deserve. The law has required survivors of sexual abuse to file charges against their offender before most could possibly process and confront an experience so traumatic, effectively shielding predators from culpability at the expense of their victims’ justice.
Last month, the state Legislature approved the Child Victims Act – quite literally a life-changing victory. The Act will become effective when Governor Cuomo signs it into law (anticipated date of February 19, 2019). The new law will finally provide survivors of sexual abuse the fair chance to reclaim integrity they were previously refused.
What Will Change
- Extend the time survivors of sexual abuse have to bring criminal and civil charges against their abusers.
- Revive past claims of abuse that were dismissed.
- Hold sexual offenders answerable for crimes they would have evaded before.
- Render public and private institutions more susceptible to liability.
Who Is Protected
Persons of all ages who were sexually offended when they were under the age of 18.
The One Year Rule
The following persons will 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.
- Anyone who previously filed a claim that was dismissed 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.
- File criminal charges against their offender on or before they reach the age of 28.
The impact traumatic experiences have on its survivors is one only they could truly be able to understand. Repressing the memory, confronting the assailant, denying anything happened, confiding in friends, distancing family, finding some sort of outlet – there is no wrong way to cope. The Child Victims Act will, however, provide survivors of sexual abuse with another option – seizing the power and security from those who once deprived them of.
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 New York Child Victims Act 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 towards justice can be, embrace the strength you evidently have – you are a survivor and control your future, not a victim confined to the past.