Hagens Berman Blog

New York Passes Child Victims Act for Survivors of Sexual Abuse

02/22/2019

Child Victims Act Attorneys

In the realm of the law and your rights, time is precious and impactful.

For victims of sexual abuse, mere moments can affect lifetimes, and short windows can predicate decades. When the New York state legislature passed The Child Victims Act last month, the bill ushered in a new era for victims of child sexual abuse and sexual misconduct.

This bill is a new lifeline for those who have seen firsthand how important timing can be in a sexual assault case.

TIMING IS EVERYTHING

13 years. That’s how long it has taken for the Child Victims Act to be passed in New York state. For 13 years, insurance companies, religious and private education institutions and other major powers kept this powerful act from surfacing in an era in which it has been needed most. Thirteen years passed before the rights of victims in the ongoing sexual abuse of minors won against special interests and the concerns of the well-funded and well-protected.

Previously, victims of child sex abuse in New York state had until they turned 23 years old to bring charges against their abusers, potentially giving a victim of child sex abuse only a narrow window - as little as 6 years - during which to process, accept, overcome and decide to act against potentially the most traumatic event in their lifetime.

55 years. Under New York state’s newly passed Child Victims Act, victims who are under 18 years old now will be allowed to seek justice against their abuser until the age of 55, a significant increase from the previous age limit.

The bill also includes a one-year window during which victims of any age or time limit can come forward to prosecute their abusers of long ago.

These extended windows are critical to victims of child sexual abuse, who for many reasons may rightfully delay in reporting their abuse to authorities and/or sexual abuse attorneys. According to statistics from Child USA, the majority of child sexual abuse victims do not choose to disclose, if they do at all, until the average age of 52.

There are eight other states considering similar legislation, and our firm strongly supports these efforts.

The statute of limitations in your child sex abuse case is hugely impactful to your case’s success. With this new bill, victims of child sexual abuse in New York have a renewed sense of hope in the legal system in upholding their rights to recourse and justice.

But an extended statute of limitations is only half of the winning battle.

SEXUAL ABUSE ATTORNEYS

Hagens Berman’s team of skilled sexual abuse attorneys are armed with the resources and compassion to expertly handle cases on behalf of those who have survived childhood sexual assault and/or abuse.

Our attorneys have achieved monumental settlements of millions of dollars on behalf of our clients against workplaces and universities for systemic sexual abuse.

Our firm is also a pioneer in this space. We take on cases that matter for those who need it most. Hagens Berman’s sexual assault legal team is currently spearheading a class-action lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein on behalf of a proposed class of women who were subjected to his sexual misconduct, including assault, rape and other despicable acts.

Hagens Berman’s attorneys also know New York law. Our firm has decades of experience litigating cases in New York and will ensure your case is tried with attention and precision.

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS & SPREAD THE WORD

With new legislation signed by New York’s governor Cuomo, and with skilled attorneys available to assist them in bringing claims under the new Child Victims Act, the only thing keeping victims of child sex abuse in New York from seeking the justice they deserve is knowledge of their rights.

Rest assured, the same powers that for 13 years fought to keep this bill from becoming law have not forgotten about it. They have not grown weak or tired, and they have certainly not grown less powerful. They will attempt to spread misinformation and attempt to keep victims of child sex abuse in New York from fully understanding their rights. They will muddy the waters.

Join us in spreading the word about victims’ rights in New York under the Child Victims Act.

New York Child Victims Act FAQ »