On May 24, 2022, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed the long-awaited Adult Survivors Act (ASA) into law. The ASA’s passage opens an important window of time for victims of sexual abuse who were over 18 at the time of the alleged offenses. Survivor advocacy groups have long supported this legislation and view its enactment as a significant step toward holding abusers accountable.
What is the Adult Survivor’s Act (ASA)?
- New York’s Adult Survivor’s Act (ASA) will provide victims of sexual offenses who were eighteen or older at the time of the abuse to file previously time-barred claims against their abusers.
- Beginning November 24, 2022, these survivors can bring claims related to incest and sexual abuse offenses defined in Section 130 of the New York Penal Law for one year.
- Survivors will be permitted to file suit against an abuser or third party for any intentional or negligent acts or omissions causing physical, psychological, or other injury.
The new law will give survivors like Drew Dixon a chance to finally have their day in court. In 2017, Dixon came forward with allegations that music mogul Russell Simmons sexually assaulted her when she was working in the industry 22 years before. At that time that Dixon was ready to come forward, the statute of limitation to file a civil suit against Simmons had long since passed. Now, Dixon and others will have an opportunity to hold their alleged abusers accountable.
Dixon, who is now a survivor advocate, provided a statement in response to the news that the ASA had passed. She related that “It’s not possible to show up fully in the world when you are hiding your truth to make space for your abuser’s lie, so this is a watershed moment.” Dixon also commented that
“The ASA will empower survivors to have their stories heard, scrutinized, and at long last, acknowledged.”
The Adult Survivors Act and Child Survivors Act
The ASA was modeled after and is similar to New York’s Child Victims Act (CVA) which was passed in 2019. The CVA provided a lookback window that extended the statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse survivors in state civil and criminal cases. Before the passage of the CVA, child survivors were often deprived of their day in court because of short statutes of limitations. When the window first opened, thousands of survivors filed claims. At the time of its closure in August of 2021, it was estimated that approximately 9,200 claims had been filed. Today, that number is believed to be above 10,000.
Like the CSA, the ASA will allow time-barred claims relating to adult sexual abuse to be filed during the law’s designated lookback period. Victim advocates anticipate that thousands of claims will be filed in November when the one-year window opens.
Who is Expected to be Sued Under the ASA?
The ASA provides that claims can be brought against sexual abusers, as well as the individual’s employer and other entities, for negligent or intentional acts. This means that any person, company, or institution can be sued for sexually abusive acts committed against an adult, no matter how many years ago the offense occurred.
However, depending on the amount of time that has passed, it may be challenging for victims to establish their claims. The ASA does not guarantee victims a certain result, but it will provide them with the opportunity to pursue legal action against abusers and negligent institutions.
Gov. Hochul also commented on the new law’s impact, stating, “To those who thought they got away with horrific crimes they committed, I just have one message: Your time is up. Your victims will see you in court, and you will be brought to justice.”
Contact an Experienced Sexual Abuse Injury Attorney
If you’ve been the victim of rape, sexual abuse, or other sexual violence, you want an experienced and compassionate sexual abuse injury attorney on your side. Bonina & Bonina, P.C. understand the importance of helping sexual violence survivors get the help they need for their trauma. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se Habla Español.