Safe Horizon Launches PSA for Adult Survivors Act
Groups pushes NYS Leg to provide adult survivors a pathway to justice
NEW YORK, NY (05/07/2021) (readMedia)-- On Friday, Safe Horizon launched a PSA urging the New York State Legislature to pass the Adult Survivors Act (ASA): legislation that would provide a one year look back window for any survivor (18+) of sexual abuse to sue his/her abuser in civil court, even if the statute of limitations has expired. The PSA features Evelyn Yang, Marissa Hoechstetter, Ambra Battilana-Gutierrez, Tanisha Johnson, Robert Bender, Lourdes Rosa-Carrasquillo, and the two bill sponsors, State Senator Brad Hoylman and Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal.
About the ASA
The ASA - (A.648 Rosenthal/S.66 Hoylman) - is the next important step that the New York State legislature must take to reform the State's long-outdated statute of limitations for survivors of sexual violence. Modeled on the Child Victims Act, the ASA would provide a one-year lookback window to survivors who were abused when they were 18 years old or over. If passed, adult survivors would have one year in which to file a civil claim -- no matter how long ago the abuse happened -- even if the statute of limitations has expired.
Recognizing that the constrained time limits in NY's statutes were not in line with what experts understand about trauma, the legislature in 2019 passed the CVA, which has allowed over 5,000 survivors of childhood sexual abuse to file civil lawsuits to date. That same year, the Legislature extended the civil and criminal statute of limitations for several felony offenses -- including extending the civil statute of limitations for Rape in the second and third degrees prospectively up to 20 years. However, the law does not apply retroactively, meaning that certain survivors who were abused prior to 2019, still have only between 1-5 years to file a civil lawsuit.
The ASA applies to Article 130 crimes, including Rape 2 and 3, criminal sex acts, among others and incest offenses in Section 255. Just like the Child Victims Act, the ASA would also waive the 90 day notice of claim requirement to bring a case against a public institution.
According to the science of trauma, it can take survivors years -- even decades -- to process sexual abuse. When those survivors are ready to come forward, it may be too late due to restrictive statute of limitations on sex crimes. For some survivors who may have reported within the statute of limitation, but failed to get a resolution in the criminal justice system the ASA provides a further pathway to justice.
The ASA will create new paths to justice for survivors who were denied access to our courts because of an artificially narrow statute of limitations. The bill will give all survivors, including people who were formerly incarcerated, individuals abused by an intimate partner, and disabled survivors, a much needed chance to hold their abusers accountable.