The Child Victim’s Act finally passes (they were Sexually Abused long ago, as children now they can sue in NY, Vivian Wang, NYT, 01/28/2019)

It’s official, that after 13 years the CVA( Child Victims Act) has passed,as. reported by Vivian Wang in the NY times (1/28/2019, link provided below) . The passage of the CVA (Child Victims Act) has many legal ramifications. Prior to passage of the Child Victim’s Act the Statute of Limitations was a standard SOL starting at the age of maturity (18) which meant survivors had until 23 or 5 years after they turned 18 to file any type of claim. The passage of the CVA would extend the time limit by advancing the age at which criminal SOL would start from 18 to 23, this effectively raising the an adult survivors of CSA could bring criminal charges against someone to 28. The act also extends the age at which a victim can civilly sue their assailant (or the institution, school, or organization that enabled them) anytime up to 50 years of age. Just to give some perspective one man mentioned in the article mentions had been molested when he was 16, and went on to say it was not until the age of 62 that he told the school the abuse had happened. Many survivors, some of them not even old enough speak, can take decades to come to terms with their abuse, if at all. The act also waives the victims responsibility of notifying the assailant, or organization of the intent to bring an action. As well it has given He courts a one year look back window, starting 6 months after it becomes active, into which all previously dismissed cases up to one year can be reevaluated on Merit and considered for Retrial. In addition to revisions retraining court personal and justices on how to deal with the new legislation.
In my personal opinion this law is a strong and effective step in the right direction that NYS has needed for a long time. For way too long NYS held on to antiquated legislation on Child Sexual Assault that often benefited the victimizer. Selling out their most vulnerable constituents for what reason I have yet to understand. In the past few years the running the excuse was from the Republican led senate finance committee, who claimed passing the law would just cost the state too much money. As if one could put a price tag on such a thing as child’s healthy development. Organizations like Who (The World Health Organization) have labeled it a major health concern. As a victim of Child Rape myself, I am absolutely elated this bill passed. The Civil part especially. According to the National Centers for Victims of Crime in the vast majority of cases where there is credible evidence a child has been penetrated, only between 5% and 15% show injuries consistent with child sexual abuse. Age wise 66% of victims being between 12-17 and 34% between under 12. And only about 38% of children attempt reporting sexual abuse, and that has no bearing on whether their perceived as credible or simply dismissed. With statistics like that it’s not hard to see why CSA is so apt to go on for years and years and year’s . It’s also disconcerting that even single instance CSA has been linked to high rates of CPTSD, Anxiety, Depression, Suicide and High Risk behaviors well into adulthood. The CDC estimated the annual cost of Child Maltreatment or Abuse in the US is an estimated $124 billion dollars. That’s a whopping 3.3% of our $3.8 billion budget. This includes immediate expenses , as well as loss of productivity and increased healthcare costs in adulthood. While this estimate is for all forms of child maltreatment, there is evidence that the consequences of child sexual abuse are equivalent or greater than the consequences of other forms of child maltreatment. CSA has been proportionally linked to an increase in minor and serious health problems among victims when compared with the general population as well. Which is why the extended civil option is so important The amount of restitution can offset the lifetime costs of medical and psychological costs dealing with this pandemic. But the economics is just the beginning. Victims of CSA are more likely to suffer sexual and domestic violence as adults. Which is bad enough in states with adequate legislation. All things aside how New York could ever allow itself to not update its laws for so long, under this type of a threat, is completely incomprehensible.

Additional References pertinent to the law and CSA

Child Sexual Abuse Statistics


  1. Sandra

    I found this post very interesting. Thank you for that information, and I am also glad that the Child Victims Act has had ramifications.

    • Abigail Thomas

      Thank you Sandra, and I am so glad for the positive ramifications it has on victims lives as well.

  2. kaya peterson

    Reading your post, was very informative and interesting I knew about the issues revolving around the statue of limitations but to know they are making a change for people and giving them more time to open up I am very pleased !

    • Abigail Thomas

      Happy to. Her you found it so informative Kaya. I agree I am so pleased myself with the new changes to law as well.

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