New York readers might be interested to learn that the number of reported sex abuse cases across the United States is on the rise, according to data released by the University of New Hampshire’s Crimes Against Children Research Center. The uptick in cases comes after a 25-year pattern of decline.

Why are sex abuse cases increasing?

Between 1992 and 2018, the overall rate of child sexual abuse cases decreased by 62%. However, there were nearly 63,000 sex abuse cases reported in 2018, which is up 6% from the 59,400 reported in 2017. According to experts, the increase is likely related to several prominent sexual abuse cases that have come to light in recent years. These highly publicized cases have raised awareness about sexual abuse and encouraged other victims to come forward.

One example is the Boy Scouts of America case. As of November 2020, more than 82,000 people have claimed that they were sexually assaulted by scout leaders in the organization. The cases are piling up because victims must file complaints ahead of a Nov. 30 court deadline in a bankruptcy case filed by the Boy Scouts. The organization is seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections to shield its estimated $1 billion in assets from abuse claims.

The Boy Scouts of America was founded in 1910 and had around 5 million members during its peak in the 1970s. Accusers, who range in age from 8 to 93, claim that the organization failed to protect them from scout leaders who were sexual predators.

Legal help for New York sexual abuse victims

In 2019, New York passed the Child Victims Act, which temporarily repealed the statute of limitations on child sex abuse lawsuits. This means that older victims of sexual abuse can come forward and seek justice for any physical and mental trauma they endured as children. An attorney may review a victim’s case and help prepare a claim on his or her behalf.