New York Governor States that Child Victims Act Will be Included in 2019 Executive Budget
Governor Andrew Cuomo, through a press release from his office, has indicated that the Child Victims Act (“Act”) would be included in the 2019 executive budget. The Act is a set of laws intended to help child victims of sexual abuse hold their abusers accountable, both criminally, and civilly, allowing victims a way to seek justice regardless of when they suffered the abuse.
The laws in place before implementation of the Act indicate that an alleged sexual abuser must be criminally prosecuted within five years of the alleged abuse. Additionally, any civil lawsuit to seek damages in the form of compensation must be filed no later than three years from the date of a victim’s eighteenth birthday. Governor Cuomo’s new legislation eliminates many of the time constraints placed on child victims of sexual abuse.
Key Takeaways of New York’s Child Victims Act
New York’s Child Victims Act reshapes current New York law that does not provide child victims of sexual abuse adequate means to pursue legal action, either by reporting the alleged abuse to police or by seeking justice by filing a civil complaint. The Act aims to do the following, which was not possible under New York’s existing laws:
- Extends the amount of time alleged perpetrators of child sexual abuse can be criminally charged;
- Extends the amount of time child victims of sexual abuse can file a civil lawsuit, allowing victims to file lawsuits any time before the age of fifty;
- Allow victims whose claims are time-barred under the existing laws to have another chance to seek justice in court, providing them with a new one-year deadline to report the alleged abuse to police and file a civil lawsuit;
- Eliminates the requirement to file a notice of claim for sexual offenses committed against a minor;
- Requires judicial training regarding crimes involving sexual abuse against children; and
- Authorizes the Office of Court Administration to create rules and regulations for timely review and resolution of cases that have been revived under the new laws.
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