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NYS Passes Child Victims Act

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The New York State legislature passed the Child Victims Act Monday.

The legislation would help survivors of childhood sexual abuse seek justice by allowing them more time to purse legal action as adults. 

“For too long survivors of childhood sexual abuse have had to live with their trauma while their perpetrators escaped justice because of New York’s inadequate laws,” said Assembly Speaker Heastie.

“This legislation would ensure that they are finally given their day in court and that their abusers are exposed and held accountable. The Assembly Majority has passed the Child Victims Act for many years, and we are glad that working with our new partners in the Senate it will finally become law," said Speaker Heastie.

The bill gives childhood sexual abuse victims an additional five years to seek criminal charges against their perpetrators by changing the age of when the statue of limitations clock begins. 

Under the bill, the statue of limitations won't begin until the age of 23, rather than 18.

In civil cases involving child sexual abuse, the statue of limitations would be tolled and the victim would be able to file a lawsuit until turning 55 years old. 

The legislation includes a one year look-back window for survivors who are not able to seek legal action under current law. This one-year look-back window would take effect six months after the bill is signed into law.

The bill would also treat public and private entities equally by removing the current notice of claim provisions for public entities. The bill will also clarify that public and private entities are subject to the look-back window. 

For victims who have been forced to wait years to access the justice system, the bill would give revived cases a trial preference so they move forward more quickly in court. 

Judges would also be required to undergo additional training concerning crimes involving the sexual abuse of minors.