Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal announced the Assemblys intent to pass the Child Victims Act today, which Assemblymember Al Taylor spoke in support of on the floor. The legislation (A.2683, Rosenthal) would help survivors of childhood sexual abuse seek justice by allowing them more time to pursue legal recourse as adults.
The Child Victims Act would give childhood sexual abuse survivors an additional five years to seek criminal charges against perpetrators by changing when the statute of limitations clock begins to run. Under the bill, the five year period within which charges could be brought would not start until the victim reaches age 23, rather than 18.
For civil cases involving sex offenses against a child, the statute of limitations would be tolled and a lawsuit by a victim would be permitted up until the victim turns 55 years of age. The legislation includes a one year look-back window for survivors who are not able to seek recourse under current law. This one-year look-back window would take effect six months after the bill is signed into law.
The measure would treat public and private entities equally by removing the current notice of claim provisions for public entities, and further clarify that public and private entities are subject to the look-back window.
In recognition of the fact that many victims have already been forced to wait years to access the justice system, the bill would give revived cases a trial preference so they move forward more quickly in court. Judges would also be required to undergo additional training concerning crimes involving the sexual abuse of minors.