The Child Victims Act is an important law in New York because it extends the time survivors of child sexual abuse have to pursue a claim through a civil or criminal case. The CVA extended how long victims had to file claims, giving them potentially decades longer to decide if they wish to file a claim.

The goal of the change in this legislation was to make sure that those who committed child sexual abuse crimes would be held accountable. Additionally, the act makes changes that allow victims to hold organizations and institutions liable as well. 

The CVA was passed in 2019. In the past, survivors of abuse in childhood only had between one and five years to bring a civil lawsuit after reaching 18 years of age. That meant that they’d have no further ability to make the claim after reaching 23 years of age. Under the CVA, victims now have until they are 55 years of age to make a claim.

Knowing that some people may not yet be ready to file a claim when they are younger, the new act expands the timeline to give victims time to reflect on what happened and to decide if they want to file a claim. Even better, the act is retroactive. That means that those who were 55 or older at the time of the change now have until Aug. 14, 2021 to file their own claims. This act also extends the length of time people have to seek criminal charges against their abusers by an additional five years. 

If you were victimized as a child, you may still have time to make a civil or criminal claim. Your attorney can help you make your claim if you’d like to move forward.