New York State Child Victims Act: What Does It Mean?

In January of 2019 New York State passed a new bill that allows victims of child sexual abuse to sue their abusers until the age of 55. Previously the law was that victims had 5 years from the time they turned 18 years of age to report their crime and seek justice, making the maximum age 23. If a victim had kept silent for any number of valid reasons passed the age of 23, they no longer had the right to seek damages against their abusers.

Why did the law change?

Simply put, the state Catholic Conference and insurance companies had lobbied hard to make sure this bill didn’t pass. In November when the Republicans lost control of the state Senate to the democrats, the bill was set in motion almost immediately.

Many victims of child sex abuse take decades before coming forth. Some victims repress their memories or don’t feel comfortable sharing them until much later in life. The Child Victims Act recognizes this and extends the opportunity of seeking justice to those who need more time in order to come forward.

What’s the fine print?

The Child Victims Act has three main components to it:

  • The new statute of limitations for criminal charges to be brought against abusers increases from the time the victim is 23 years of age, to 28 years of age.
  • The new statute of limitations for civil charges increased from the time the victim is 23 years of age to 55 years of age.
  • There’s a one year window from the time the bill was passed allowing victims of any age to sue their abusers.

Who can be sued under the Child Victims Act?

You can either sue the individual abuser or the institution responsible or both. A notice of claim is not necessary. Previously, in order to sue a public institution you needed to file a notice of claim within 90 days of the abuse, this is no longer necessary.

What should I do if I’m a victim of child sex abuse?

You can contact us at The Orlow Firm for a free consultation. You’ll speak to a lawyer, go over the details of your case and if we decide to work together there is no upfront cost to you. If you don’t receive a settlement, you don’t owe us anything. You have nothing to lose by contacting us and speaking to one of our experienced attorneys. We have offices throughout NYC and represent victims in Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Manhattan, Long Island and Staten Island.

Contact The Orlow Firm Today

To contact a New York child victims act attorney at our firm, call (646) 647-3398.