In the last few years, New York State has passed two laws to expand the statute of limitations for sexual abuse crimes. The first was the Child Victims Act, passed in 2019 and extended in 2021. The second is the Adult Survivors Act, passed in 2022.
In brief, the Child Victims Act changes the statutes of limitations in these ways:
- Survivors who were under the age of 23 on February 14, 2019, now have until their:
- 55th birthday to file a criminal lawsuit against their abuser
- 25th birthday to file criminal misdemeanor charges against their abuser
- 28th birthday to file criminal felony charges against their abuser
- During a one-year “window,” from November 2022, any adult survivor of sexual abuse may file a civil lawsuit against their abuser, no matter how long ago that abuse took place
The Adult Survivors Act makes the following change to the statute of limitations:
- During a one-year “window,” survivors of adult sexual abuse may file a civil lawsuit against their abusers, regardless of when the abuse took place.
The primary difference between the two laws is the Adult Survivors Act covers sexual abuse that happened to people over the age of 18, while the Child Victims Act applies to sexual abuse that happened to people under 18.
Another difference is that the Child Victims Act made permanent changes to the statutes of limitations for childhood sexual abuse. None of the extensions of the statutes of limitations in the Adult Survivors Act are permanent.
Despite these differences, the Adult Survivors Act was modeled after the Child Victims Act. After its passage, the Child Victims Act was applauded for providing relief to many victims who would not have been able to seek justice. For any survivor of sexual abuse, reaching out for informed and confidential support is a brave first step towards justice. Sexual abuse is not limited to gender, race, religion, age, or socioeconomic standing. You are not alone and never think that no one will understand or that you will be judged.
We are ready to fight for you while protecting your privacy and dignity.
Both laws extend the statutes of limitations more for civil lawsuits than for criminal charges. For many victims of sexual abuse, a sexual assault lawyer who brings a civil lawsuit is key to seeking justice. Any kind of sexual abuse causes psychological harm. Beyond those, it can also cause economic harm.
For example, adult sexual abuse often happens in the context of work, and the victim can lose opportunities and income as a result. Child sexual abuse that happens in school can limit a child’s ability to advance in school, thereby potentially hindering their future.
If you have survived sexual abuse as either a child or an adult, the changes made by the Child Victims Act and the Adult Survivors Act may allow you to file a civil suit against your abuser. The professional and experienced lawyers at Napoli Shkolnik respect your privacy and confidentiality. Contact us today to speak with a compassionate sexual abuse lawyer about all the legal options that may be open to you.