(Links for information about the Adult Aurvivors Act and the Child Victims Act are from Safe Horizon, posted with permission)
Thanksgiving 2022 will bring with it not only turkey dinners and football, but for adult survivors of sexual abuse, it will also offer a long-awaited opportunity to attain closure.
The Adult Survivors Act takes effect on Thursday, November 24th and gives those who were sexually abused in New York as adults a year-long opportunity to file civil lawsuits against their abusers, even if the statute of limitations has expired. The Adult Survivors Act allows survivors of adult sexual abuse to file charges against individuals or organizations – including businesses, schools or houses of worship – that knew or should have known that the abuse was taking place within their walls.
New York’s courts are preparing themselves for a flood of cases as survivors of adult sexual abuse file suits under the new law. While clearly money or a guilty verdict cannot erase past pain, knowing that justice has been served is an essential component of the healing process. Amudim applauds the many legislators who were involved in the Adult Survivors Act’s passage, some of whom are sexual abuse survivors themselves, giving survivors a chance to hold their abusers accountable for their heinous actions.
It is equally gratifying to see efforts in Albany to reopen legislation with regards to the Child Victims Act, with lawmakers seeking to remove the statute of limitations for criminal charges completely, and creating more avenues for civil litigation. .
10,000 lawsuits were filed under the Child Victims Act before its August 2021 end, but its confusing terminology left multitudes of attorneys unsure of the legislation’s, scope and a significant number of people were incorrectly told that they were unable to file a claim under the law.
Amudim has confirmed through the office of Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal that efforts to amend the Child Victims Act by completely removing the statute of limitations and adding an option for civil lawsuits will continue this term. Similar efforts will be taking place in the State Senate, where Assemblymember Nathalia Fernandez will be taking over for Senator Alessandra Biaggi and will continue the push for changes to the Child Victims Act.
We hope to see the bill signed into law so that more childhood abuse victims will finally get to see justice being served and urge every person reading these words to reach out to their elected officials in support of these efforts so that we can build safer and healthier communities.