New York Child Victims Act Lawyers
New York state has finally taken steps to expand the law that relates to victims of child sex abuse. The Child Victims Act revives claims for young victims of sexual abuse and assault that occurred decades ago, but were until now barred from seeking justice due to the passage of time. For any new incidents, the law greatly expands the statutes of limitations for child sex abuse, allowing people up to the age of 55 to file suit.
The law will also create a one-year “window” that will allow victims of child sex abuse before they were 18 to sue for money damages regardless of their age. This provides an opportunity to seek compensation for those over 55, but only for the one-year window.
It is expected that the greatest benefit of the new law will be for victims of sex abuse at the hands of priests or other clergies, scout leaders, counselors, coaches and teachers. Victims of child sex abuse will finally be able to seek the justice they so greatly deserve but until now have been prevented from seeking due to the passage of time.
Increased Time Frame For Statute Of Limitations
One of the most ingrained features in civil and criminal laws has been the concept of a statute of limitations. The thinking behind imposing a time limit, within which a civil or criminal case could be brought, was the desire to prevent stale claims from being litigated. The fear was based on the idea that memories fade and evidence becomes weaker with the passage of time. There is no doubt that implementation of these filing rules was well-intentioned, however there are instances where the full impact of the crime is not felt until many years after. Children who are victims of sex abuse oftentimes repress those memories, which can result in delayed recall of those events.
Statutes of limitations requires that those with a civil or criminal claim should be expected to assert that claim timely, while evidence was still fresh. There have been two major developments that have demonstrated that such thinking, while well-intentioned, may not always provide the best outcome. These two developments are the advent of DNA forensic technology and the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal throughout the country.
The scientific advances in DNA technology for use as forensic tool have in many ways eliminated the fear that reliability of evidence will degrade over the passage of time.
The nationwide Catholic Church sex abuse scandal has shown many in government that choosing a child victim should not work to benefit a sexual predator. It is the intentional choice of a sexual predator to prey upon children. The expectation being that children are the least likely victims to speak up against such an egregious abuse of power or will not be believed if they do.
As far as it relates to criminal cases, New York state’s passage of the Child Victims Act allows for prosecutorial authorities to arrest those who commit such horrible acts against children under 18, without the bar of a criminal statute of limitations. This new provision however can only act for new cases going forward; criminal statutes can never be applied retroactively to create criminal liability for cases that were barred due to the passage of time.
We Seek Maximum Compensation For Child Sex Abuse Victims
Civil statutes are different. The new law will allow individuals who were under 18 at the time they were sexually assaulted, to file suit up until they reach the age of 55. Because the legislature apparently wanted to put some cap on the time within which to sue, they opened a window of one year that will allow all current child sex abuse victims regardless of age to file suit during that one-year period.
Another feature of the statute is that it works to treat private and public institutions the same. This means that, for instance, the city of New York or its departments, are treated the same as the church, public or private school, or any youth organizations. This means that the current requirement of a notice of intention to sue a municipality, or a Notice of Claim, is eliminated. Currently, in order for a child to sue the New York City Department of Education for sex abuse by a teacher that occurred even six months ago, a judge would have to allow the matter to proceed by granting permission to file a “Late Notice of Claim.” That requirement has been eliminated for child victims of sex abuse seeking to hold municipalities liable.
Get The Advice And Guidance You And Your Family Need
Although the Child Victims Act increases the statute of limitations on your case, you should contact our attorneys immediately for your free and confidential consultation. Conveniently located in downtown Manhattan, we serve clients throughout the New York City metropolitan area and Long Island.
We will treat you with respect and dignity.
Call our firm today at 646-741-4084 to discuss your case with an experienced New York lawyer.