Child Victims Act the Law in New York State

On February 14, 2019, Governor Cuomo signed into law the Child Victims Act. The legislation, among other things, extended the time in which survivors of childhood sexual abuse can seek justice. Under the old law, child sexual abuse offenses could not be prosecuted more than five years after their occurrence and civil lawsuits for this conduct had to be brought within three years of the victim’s 18th birthday.

The new legislation:

  • Increased the amount of time during which perpetrators of these crimes may be held criminally accountable;
  • Extended the age at which the criminal statute of limitations begins to run from 18 to 23;
  • Allowed victims of these crimes to commence a civil lawsuit at any time before they reach 55 years of age;
  • Provided victims whose claims have been time-barred a new opportunity for their day in court by opening a one-year window for them to commence their action;
  • Eliminated the need to file a notice of claim for sexual offenses committed against a minor for public institutions;
  • Required judicial training with respect to crimes involving the sexual abuse of minors;
  • Authorized the Office of Court Administration to promulgate rules and regulations for the timely adjudication of revived actions.
  • Established a trial preference for cases that have been revived