The Recently Passed Child Victims Act Gives Victims New Rights Under New York State Law
Updated: Sep 1, 2019
What is the New York State Child Victims Act?
In 2019, the New York State Senate Passed Bill S2440 which effectively eliminated the Statute of Limitations for childhood sexual abuse survivors, allowing them to bring lawsuits which may otherwise have been time-barred. The bill was signed into law by Governor Cuomo in February of 2019.
Until when can a Person File a Claim under the Child Victims Act?
The one year window to file claims closes on August 14, 2020, at which point, a Statute of Limitations is re-implemented. Once the window closes, victims who were abused as minors will have until age 55 to bring such lawsuits. This means that during the window (beginning August 14, 2019 and ending on August 14, 2020), people who were sexually abused as children can bring lawsuits under New York State law no matter how long ago the abuse occurred.
While a year might seem like a long time, many of these cases are decades old and ample time is required to investigate them, track down agency information, surviving witnesses, record keepers, and old documents etc., so it is important to act sooner rather than later if you think you might have a claim.
So many times, I have heard the same thing from our clients: that they did not seek justice in the past because “it was something you just didn’t talk about back then.”
Part of the impetus behind New York’s passing of the Child Victims Act was to reflect the cultural shift that once protected and even concealed these abusers from justice, whether in schools, religious institutions, foster homes, or many other institutions which may have enabled them.
Will Identities of Childhood Sex Abuse Victims be made Public?
Protecting the identity of the victims in these cases is critically important because the subject matter is extremely personal, delicate and potentially embarrassing if disclosure is made public. Even decades after the abuse, many victims haven’t told their families (or even their significant others) about the atrocities they endured, choosing instead to grit their teeth and bottle up their memories.
In anticipation of these lawsuits, I have personally spoken with several Court Clerks throughout New York State who have unanimously indicated that new procedures have been implemented to protect the identity of the victims; this extends to both print and online publication.
This commitment to anonymity has not only comforted, but empowered victims to come forward. While no amount of money can truly fix the damage done, the window to file these cases presents at least some sort of opportunity to seek justice.
As a former Law Enforcement Officer, I have worked with many victims of child abuse and neglect, and have seen firsthand the effects they have on our most vulnerable and important resource – our children. It is my personal mission to relentlessly pursue justice for my clients no matter how long ago the abuse occurred.
As the Child Victims Act brings new changes to New York State law, and given the gravity of these cases, it is important to consult an attorney who is acquainted with the unique court proceedings and filings that these cases require, in addition to honed investigation skills.
Call 914-500-7990 to set up a free consultation, or visit www.NathInjuryLaw.com for directions, contact, and more general information.
Links to Additional Information: