What is the Child Victims Act?

The Child Victims Act was signed into law on February 14, 2019, by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. The Child Victims Act (CVA) extends the amount of time in which a survivor of child sexual abuse can file a civil or criminal lawsuit against their perpetrator. The act also permits suits to be filed against an institution, i.e., a hospital, place of worship, etc., that may have enabled the abuse.

Some key notes of the act include:

  • The act allows survivors of child sexual abuse crimes to pursue a civil lawsuit against their perpetrator at any time prior to the survivor reaching 55 years of age. This age has increased from 23 years, the previous age limit set by the State of New York.
  • Survivors of child sexual abuse can file criminal charges against their perpetrator up until a survivor reaches 28 years of age. This age has increased from 23 years, the previous age set by the State of New York.
  • The act mandates a one-year, one-time “look-back” window in which survivors who have been time-barred from pursuing a civil lawsuit against their perpetrator may now do so. This window allows any survivor–regardless of their age or how long ago the abuse took place–to file a civil lawsuit against their perpetrator and/or any public or private institute that may have enabled the abuse. Currently, the deadline to file a lawsuit is August 14, 2020. Legislation has since been introduced to potentially allow this deadline to be extended one additional year.

If you or someone you love has any questions pertaining to the Child Victims Act, we are here should you need legal counsel.