Are you a survivor locked out of taking action by the statute of limitations? Here’s your chance to get involved in an important legal change campaign in New York state: The Adult Survivor’s Act.
Many survivors of sexual assault need years, or even decades, to process their abuse. Because of that, many survivors are already outside of the statute of limitations by the time they feel safe and able to come forward.
This is not good enough. So we’re asking lawmakers to sign in the Adult Survivor’s Act, a bill that would provide a one year look back window for any survivor 18+ of sexual abuse to sue her or his abuser in civil court, even if the statute of limitations (the maximum time after an event within which legal proceedings may be initiated) has expired.
Our good friends at leading NY victim assistance organization Safe Horizon are leading the charge on the ASA. We also supported their campaign to enact the Child Victims Act, a similar law which removed the statute of limitations for child abuse victims for one year and extended the statute of limitations to allow child survivors of sexual assault to have civil claims heard under the Child Victims Act.
We believe that those who were legally considered an adult when they were sexual assaulted by a predator deserve the same opportunity to be heard and seek justice.
The #MeToo movement helped pull back the curtain on prolific and powerful abusers like Weinstein and Epstein. But cultural change is less meaningful if it is not underpinned by legal reforms that truly empower survivors to move from victim to warrior.
Rapists must pay. The purpose of our courts is to take money from wrongdoers and give it to injured parties. Survivors of sexual assault deserve justice, love, understanding, and closure. But also, they deserve to have the financial assets of their rapist. Money won’t take away the memories, but it can make life more comfortable. Unlike other injuries, the trauma from sexual violence often outlasts the statute of limitations and it may be years before a survivor is ready to seek vindication in courts. Fairness requires justice for sexual assault victims. And fairness is the ASA. – Carrie Goldberg, founder of C. A. Goldberg, PLLC
Where are we right now?
- The statute of limitations for civil cases for most sexual offenses (called Article 130 crimes) is currently five years.
- The statute of limitations for suing a negligent institution in civil court is 1-3 years depending on the type of claim and whether, or not, there is a criminal conviction.
- If a survivor pursues civil damages against a public entity, he or she has to file a notice of claim within 90 days of the offense.
What would the ASA do?
The ASA would provide a one year look back window for any survivor 18+ of sexual abuse to sue her or his abuser in civil court, even if the statute of limitations (the maximum time after an event within which legal proceedings may be initiated) has expired.
It would create a one-year window for survivors barred by the current statute of limitations to file civil lawsuits against their abuser or an institution that was negligent in stopping the abuse or covered up the abuse, no matter how long ago the abuse happened.
What is the opportunity?
As we ramp up our campaign to have the Adult Survivor’s Act signed in to law, we are bringing together a small group of survivors who are keen to join the campaign and tell their story of being locked out of justice by the law itself.
If you would like the opportunity to stand beside us and tell your story in support of the ASA, email us at email@example.com.
We only have a few spaces available, but we would love to hear from you.