Assemblyman Jones Helps Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse Get Long-Overdue Justice

January 28, 2019

Assemblyman Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay) announced that he helped pass the Child Victims Act, which gives victims of childhood sexual abuse more time to bring charges against their abusers (A.2683). The measure extends the criminal and civil statutes of limitations for these crimes and allows victims a one-year “look-back window” to revive cases.

“The trauma of childhood sexual abuse can leave emotional wounds that take years to begin healing from,” Jones said. “This legislation will help give survivors of these unimaginable acts the time to heal and recover before deciding whether or not to take legal action.”

The Assembly measure would extend the statutes of limitations and allow criminal cases to be commenced until the victim turns age 28 for felonies and age 23 for misdemeanors. Further, the bill also pushes back the statute of limitations to permit civil actions to be brought until the victim’s 55th birthday. Additionally, the measure creates a one-year window for adult survivors to revive cases that, under current law, are barred because the statute of limitations has expired.

The Child Victims Act also removes the current notice of claim requirement for public entities, requires additional training for judges on cases involving sexual abuse of a minor and gives cases revived under the one-year window a trial preference so they move forward more rapidly in court. This recognizes that, in many cases, victims have already had to wait years to see justice served, noted Jones.

“Child sexual abuse is an unforgivable act, and predators depend on silence to prey on children without consequence,” said Jones. “Survivors have already endured indescribable emotional pain, and here in New York, we refuse to turn a blind eye. It’s past time we lifted some of that burden and helped them get the closure and justice they deserve.”