(NEW YORK) In August of 2019 the New York Child Victims Act went into effect, giving survivors of childhood sexual abuse greater ability to seek justice against their abusers. An important facet of the law is a year-long “look-back window” during which survivors of any age can file suit, even if decades have passed since the abuse occurred. This law was intended to provide a path to justice for thousands of survivors of childhood abuse by institutions such as the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts of America, and a number of university-run medical facilities.
How the Pandemic Affects the Child Victims Act (CVA)
The CVA stipulates that survivors of any age have the right to seek justice for their suffering, but after the New York courts closed to non-essential filings due to the outbreak of Covid-19, survivors saw their window for justice shrink by almost half.
Recognizing this, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo opted to give the lookback window a much-needed extension. On May 8, Governor Cuomo stated: “Because of the reduction in court services due to the virus, we are extending that window for an additional five months until January 14th.”
What Should Survivors Do Now?
The extension of the look-back window ensures survivors have a fair opportunity to seek the justice they deserve. All survivors now have until January 14th, 2021 to file suit against their abusers and the institutions that enabled them.
It is important for survivors to act sooner rather than later, as it takes time to investigate the available evidence and prepare a lawsuit for filing. Until the virus subsides, survivors can begin working with a lawyer remotely, over the phone and through email, to prepare to file once the courts reopen.
If you, or somebody you know, is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, contact our dedicated Sexual Abuse Division by calling 1-866-713-6915 or by filling out our free case evaluation request.