Queens, New York Assemblyman David I. Weprin was joined by Jeffrey Dion, CEO of the Zero Abuse Project, Joelle Casteix, Zero Abuse Project board member and child sex abuse survivor, and Alison Andrews, Chief of the Child Abuse Unit at Queens District Attorneys Office at the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Queens to discuss the Child Victims Act (CVA). Dozens of residents from across Queens were given an update on their rights regarding the changes to the statute of limitations brought about by the CVA which was signed into law this year. The United States Department of Health and Human Services estimates that in 2017 about 2,158 children in New York were sexually abused but advocates say that these crimes are greatly under reported.
The CVA expands New Yorks formerly restrictive statute of limitations, which is a legal term that refers to the deadline an individual has to initiate legal proceedings. Beginning this August 14th , survivors over the age of 23 will be able to utilize a one-year window, known as the look back period, to file a civil lawsuit against perpetrators or institutions regardless of when the offense took place. Furthermore, the statute of limitations for criminal actions and civil actions was also raised. The criminal statute of limitations will be extended five years from age 18 to 23 and the civil statute of limitations will be extended from 23 to 55. Assemblyman Weprin has been a co-prime sponsor of the CVA since 2015.
It is my hope that local community members will be able to use the information from this seminar to seek justice for themselves or help others in their community seek justice, said Assemblyman David I. Weprin. The Child Victims Act is a historic victory for child sex abuse survivors and we need to make sure that people know how to use it to hold their victimizers accountable. I thank the Zero Abuse Project and the Queens District Attorneys office for their tireless work on this issue.
I want to thank Assemblyman Weprin for his efforts to assist survivors and protect the children of New York from future abuse. Because of this work, under the Child Victims Act, survivors of child sexual abuse can now seek justice and hold predators and the institutions that covered for them accountable for decades of abuse, said Jeffery Dion, Executive Director of the Zero Abuse Project. Moving forward, the new law also removes the perverse incentives for institutions to cover abuse as they can no longer just wait out a short statute of limitations to protect their reputation. The Child Victims Act is in fact our most powerful tool to stop abuse and protect kids.