New York Child Victims Act Attorney Helping Plaintiffs In Rochester
The Child Victims Act (CVA) is a law in New York State that extends the statute of limitations for criminal and civil claims connected to child sexual abuse. More specifically, the law states that it “provides for the timeliness of commencing criminal and civil action for sexual offenses committed against children.” The law came about largely in relation to news about sexual abuse at the hands of churches, schools, and other institutions. Until the passage of the CVA, the statute of limitations in New York prevented most victims from being eligible to file a lawsuit. However, with the passage of the CVA, thousands of people became newly eligible to file claims against their abusers. Indeed, according to a Newsday article, by early January 2020, more than 1,300 lawsuits had been filed in New York State under the Child Victims Act.
If you think you might be eligible to file a lawsuit under the CVA, you should not wait any longer to speak with an experienced Rochester Child Victims Act lawyer. At Powers & Santola, LLP, we are committed to representing plaintiffs in civil sex abuse claims and can discuss your options with you for seeking compensation and holding the abuser accountable.
What Does The CVA Do?
To make it possible for survivors of child sexual abuse to file a claim, the CVA does a number of additional things beyond extending the statute of limitations. Governor Cuomo’s office cites some of the following as the key elements of the Child Victims Act:
- Extends the amount of time for holding a child sex abuser criminally liable;
- Increases the statute of limitations for a child sex abuse claim, now giving victims up until the age of 55 to file a lawsuit fo claims that had not yet expired under the old statute of limitations period;
- Extends the statute of limitations for time-barred claims to January 14, 2021; and
- Requires judges to undergo additional training concerning child sexual abuse.
These are the basic facts. Now we want to tell you more about the background of this important law.
Background Information: Learning More About The Child Victims Act
The Child Victims Act makes it significantly easier for victims of sex abuse as children to file lawsuits against their accusers, as well as for the state of New York to hold those perpetrators accountable under criminal law. Prior to the passage of the CVA, New York State law gave victims of child sexual abuse a limited amount of time to file a claim. Before the CVA, a survivor of child sexual abuse had from 1 to 5 years after reaching the age of 18 to file a lawsuit against the abuser. After that time window (of 1 to 5 years) passed, the claim became a “time-barred” claim. Once a claim becomes time-barred, the potential plaintiff is barred from filing a lawsuit as a result of the amount of time that has passed.
New York State lawmakers recognized a pressing need to extend the statute of limitations given how difficult it can be for those who have been sexually abused as children to face the trauma of their past and to come forward with allegations against the abuser. For many survivors of child sexual abuse, it can take much longer than five years to be ready and able to make allegations and to file a civil lawsuit.
Who Is Eligible To File A Claim Under The Child Victims Act?
The Child Victims Act makes two important changes to the statute of limitations for filing a child sex abuse claim. Those include:
- For current victims of child sexual abuse: statute of limitations allows a claim up until the victim reaches the age of 55; and
- For victims whose claims were previously time-barred: a new extended time window to file a claim that runs until January 14, 2021.
To be clear, if you were a victim of child sex abuse, regardless of how much time has passed, the CVA extends the statute of limitations for a limited amount of time. The new “clock” started ticking on August 14, 2019, and you have until January 14, 2021 to file a lawsuit.
Contact A Rochester Child Victims Act Attorney
If you believe you may have a claim under the Child Victims Act, it is essential to get in touch with a Rochester Child Victims Act attorney as soon as possible. You do not want to lose your ability to file a claim under this new statute because of the limited amount of time available to file a lawsuit. An experienced advocate at our firm can speak with you today about your case and can discuss your options for filing a claim against an abuser. Contact Powers & Santola, LLP to learn more about how we serve clients in Rochester and throughout New York State.