New York Adult Survivors Act signed in to law
GOOD NEWS! (don’t we all desperately need some?)
This week we are celebrating the passage of the New York Adult Survivors Act, a bill that creates a one year “look-back window” for victims of sexual assault who are 18 years or older to file a lawsuit against their offender, no matter when the assault occurred.
Why do we need the Adult Survivors Act?
The statute of limitations is a law that sets the maximum amount of time you have to embark on legal action. Statutes of limitations are meant to protect the accused, and keep courts efficient. New York’s current statute of limitations gives survivors a narrow period to report an assault. The current time period that victims are allowed to start a lawsuit is, according to the bill, “insufficient in giving survivors of these heinous crimes enough time to pursue justice through criminal charges or filing a civil lawsuit.” Here at C.A. Goldberg, we have had to turn away survivors of sexual violence with otherwise strong claims because they were outside the short window of time in which claims can be pursued. The Adult Survivor’s Act re-opens the opportunity to pursue justice to those excluded by the statute of imitations.
Getting to hold your offender accountable in the civil justice system is critical. Sexual assault happens TO a victim and the offender needs to be accountable TO that person. – Carrie Goldberg
Not only will the ASA provide survivors with new choices – but it could also benefit us all by pointing out predators that have escaped investigation thanks to the statute of limitations.
The Adult Survivors Act is about putting the power back into the hands of survivors.
The act was signed into law by NY Governor Kathy Hochul yesterday (May 24th 2022) and there is a 6 month admin period, after which victims of adult sexual assault have one year to file a lawsuit.
This one-year window is similar to the Child Victims Act.
The Child Victims Act allowed child victims of abuse – both sexual and nonsexual – to sue their abusers and the institutions that enabled the abuse. The Child Victims Act (CVA) was important it represented an acknowledgment that victims need time to process what has happened before they feel able to take action and by that time, in too many cases, the statute of limitations had run out.
When the CVA passed, it opened the door to the courthouse for many people who had been shut out. Approximately 10,000 cases were initiated as a direct result of the CVA. We don’t know exactly what will happen in all those cases, but we do know that the CVA gave many people the opportunity to seek justice.
The Adult Survivors Act is about giving people that same opportunity.
Remember: Those seeking justice under the Adult Survivor’s Act are not asking legislature to make a judgement about our case, they are just asking to be able to access the justice system. As Liz Roberts, the chief executive officer of non-profit Safe Horizon (who lead the charge on the ASA) explained: “The bill doesn’t allow them to win their case,” she said. “It just allows them to present their case.”
Bringing a case against an abuser, rapist, or predator, is by no means easy. We know the strength it takes to stand up – after all that you have been through – and make the choice to fight for yourself.
With the ASA, we are able to continue to fight.
Could I use the Adult Survivors Act to pursue justice?
The ASA could apply to you if:
-You were sexually assaulted when you were aged 18 or older
-You are interested in pursuing a civil lawsuit against the offender or those that enabled them
What offenses does the Adult Survivors Act apply to?
The ASA covers sexual offenses as defined in Article 130 of the NY penal code (a penal code is a set of statutes that concern criminal offenses). You can read a list of Article 130 offenses here.
It includes a wide range of offenses, including:
-engaging in sexual intercourse with another person without their consent (including oral and anal sexual conduct)
-squeezing, grabbing, pinching, or touching the sexual or other intimate parts of another person for the purpose of degrading or abusing the victim, or for the purpose of gratifying the offender’s sexual desire
-subjecting another person to sexual contact without their consent; sexual contact includes touching of the offender by the victim, as well as the touching of the victim by the offender, whether directly or through clothing
-administering a prescription substance in order to sexually assault someone
-ejaculating on any part of a victim, clothed or unclothed, without their consent
-inserting an object or finger in the vagina, urethra, penis, rectum or anus of another person when they do not consent or are incapable of consent
-sexual intercourse or sexual contact when a victim is unconscious or for any other reason is physically unable to communicate unwillingness to an act
-rape or criminal sexual act against a person the offender knows to be related to him or her, whether through marriage or not (incest)
Find a longer list of what the Adult Survivors Act may cover here.
-It doesn’t matter when the assault occurred, as long as you pursue legal action within the one-year look-back window
-The window will open six months after the bill is signed, but you must move quickly as it will only last for one year.
To find out if you might be able to pursue legal action under the Adult Survivors Act, contact us here or on 646-666-8908 and we’ll get back to you within one business day.
How it works:
We’ll ask some questions to help us understand what happened, and check we are the right people to help.
Contacting a law firm does not have to be confusing, scary or intimidating! We are committed to fighting for victims like you, which is why we make contacting us a straightforward and transparent process. You can read more about what to expect when you contact us here.