Child Victims Act Could Help Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse Seek Justice

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered his 2019 ‘State of the State’ address on Tuesday, January 15th. One of the items Gov. Cuomo discussed in his address was a proposed law known as the Child Victims Act, which was created to afford more time to victims of childhood sexual abuse to seek justice.

WIVB News 4 recently aired a report detailing the potential impact of the Child Victims Act. Attorney Barry Covert, who represents several survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic Priests, was interviewed by WIVB for their report.

The Child Victims Act is legislation that has been subject to debate among New York State lawmakers for several years. Under current New York State law, an individual who was the victim of a sex crime as a minor is only able to pursue criminal charges and civil claims against their abuser until they are 23 years of age. The Child Victims Act would expand the limits that abuse victims face to pursue justice in the criminal and civil courts of New York State.

As reported by WIVB, different versions of the Child Victims Act have been proposed over the years with varying provisions. While the exact provisions of the most recent version of the legislation are still under discussion, three provisions that are reportedly part of the latest legislation are:

  • Extending the statute of limitations from the age of 23 to the age of 28 for child sexual abuse victims to file criminal charges against their abuser;
  • Extending the age limit from 23 years old to 50 years old for child sexual abuse victims to file suit against their abuser in civil court; and
  • Establishing a one year window for child sexual abuse victim to file a civil lawsuit against their abuser, no matter how many years have passed since the abuse took place.

Click below to watch WIVB’s full report on the Child Victims Act, including perspective from attorney Barry Covert.

If you have questions about the legal rights of sexual abuse survivors or if you have been the victim of childhood sexual abuse, click here to contact Barry Covert.