When New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Child Victims Act last year, it was a win for survivors of childhood sexual abuse as they were given more time to seek justice — including those who were previously barred due to legal time limits. The Child Victims Act originally had a deadline of August 14, 2020. But the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown an unexpected wrench into most things. When courts shut down and Americans went into quarantine for much of 2020, the one-year “look back” window became more complicated for most people to take advantage of. To ensure this much-deserved pathway to justice is helpful for as many survivors as possible, Governor Cuomo signed new legislation to extend the window another full year, allowing New York sexual abuse claims to be filed until August 14, 2021.
As New York reopens, Governor Cuomo noted, “extending the look back window is the right thing to do and will help ensure that abusers and those who enabled them are held accountable.”
The Child Victims Act allows people who were sexually assaulted or abused as minors to seek justice from their abusers in civil cases until age 55 — more than doubling the state’s previous time limit of age 23. Those pursuing criminal cases against their abusers have until age 28. Additionally, victims of any age have until August 14, 2021 to come forward to prosecute their abusers.
As New York natives, we’re proud of our governor for providing sexual abuse survivors with additional time to seek justice. Our team works with people who have bravely and successfully stood up to their attackers, guiding them through settlement planning to ensure their monetary recovery is beneficial for as long as possible. We’ve created a groundbreaking new settlement fund, The Settlement Account, to specifically help plaintiffs in sexual assault cases. We’ve seen firsthand how painful and difficult the process toward seeking closure can be, so we commend New York lawmakers on doing the right thing with this important legislation.
A West Point graduate where he served as captain and military aviator, John Bair continues his commitment to our country through his efforts within the settlement planning industry. He has represented families of victims lost in the Flight 3407 crash, offered pro bono services to the families of 9/11 victims and drafted the first consumer protection bill for plaintiffs (H.R. 3699).