The signing of the Child Victims Act (CVA) in 2019 was a major win for survivors of childhood sexual abuse in New York. It essentially updated the rules to provide individuals with far more time to come forward and file claims against their abusers. However, one component of the CVA has a deadline of today. On August 14, 2021, the look-back window will officially close for adult survivors to sue their abusers if they were previously barred from legal action due to the statute of limitations or failure to file a notice of claim or notice of intention to file a claim.
The look-back window has allowed more than 9,000 survivors to file cases that would otherwise have not been legal. The CVA was made possible after years of hard work from lawmakers and advocates, including our friend and colleague, Bridie Farrell. Bridie is the founder of America Loves Kids, an organization that advocates for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Her tweet today says it all:
We called, marched, stood, spoke, traveled, and much more to make the Child Victims Act possible. Shout out to Marge Markey, @bradhoylman @AndreaSCousins @CarlHeastie @LindaBRosenthal @JessSchafroth & every survivor who worked tirelessly behind the scenes.— Bridie Farrell (@BridieForUs) August 13, 2021
Our work is not done. pic.twitter.com/mGG2EYyIOk
Besides having provided the look-back window, the CVA continues to:
- Allow minor survivors to file civil claims until age 55.
- Extend time limits for prosecution of child sexual abuse crimes. While Class A and Class B felony sex crimes have never had time limits, now all other felony sex crimes committed against children can be prosecuted until the survivor is age 28. All misdemeanor sex crimes committed against children can be prosecuted until the survivor is age 25.
The CVA will still help many survivors take the time they need to come forward in the future. It has also inspired, and continues to inspire, more states to improve their laws to protect survivors.
Our team at Milestone team guides survivors through settlement planning to ensure the monetary award from their lawsuit benefits them for as long as possible. We’ve seen firsthand how painful and difficult the process toward seeking closure can be, so we commend Bridie and all those in New York who helped make the CVA a reality.