Child Victims Act Extends Statute of Limitations for Sex Abuse Survivors

The Child Victims Act, which is a bill that will extend the statute of limitations to allow victims of childhood sexual abuse to seek justice against their abuser, is expected to pass both houses of New York State’s legislature on Monday.

Final details on all the provisions within the Child Victims Act will be available sometime after the state legislature’s vote. However, after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced an agreement had been reached on the bill, Maryalice Demler of WGRZ Channel 2 interviewed attorney Barry Covert to discuss specific components that will be included in the Child Victims Act. Click the video below to watch the the full interview.  Some of components discussed include:

Statute of Limitations for Childhood Sex Abuse Victims

Under the current statute of limitations in New York State, individuals who were the victim of a sex crime as a child only have until the age of 23 to pursue criminal charges or a civil claim against their abuser. When the Child Victims Act is signed in to law, survivors of childhood sexual abuse will have until the age of 28 to file criminal charges against their abuser and until the age of 55 to pursue a civil lawsuit.

One Year Look-Back Window for Survivors Past the Statute of Limitations

With the passage of the Child Victims Act, New York will become the 49th state in the country to extend the statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse. The Child Victims Act will include a one year “look-back window”, which will allow victims of any age to pursue a civil lawsuit against their abuser. This provision will give victims, including those who are beyond the ages stated in the statute of limitations, a one-year window to seek justice against their abuser.

Public and Private Institutions Both Subject to Civil Lawsuits

The Child Victims Act has been the subject of debate for many years in New York State. Those opposed to previous versions of the legislation included the Catholic Church. The church took issue with previous versions of the law did not hold public institutions accountable in child sexual abuse cases. An updated version of the Child Victims Act, which is expected to be signed in to law, will include all public and private institutions who are responsible in child sexual abuse cases.

If you would like further information regarding the Child Victims Act or have any questions on the legal rights of sexual abuse victims, please click here to contact Barry Covert.  Barry Covert represents several victims of childhood sexual abuse.