Passage of the Child Victims Act in the New York legislature is an important victory for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. It extends the statute of limitations in child sexual abuse cases to the age of 28 in criminal cases and age 55 in civil cases. Another important part of the new law is the one-year look-back provision. This provision allows a one-time only opportunity for victims who would otherwise not be able to pursue claims against their abusers because of the statute of limitations. The look-back provision faced significant opposition from religious and civic organizations.
Delay in Reporting
The look-back provision is an important part of the new law because it allows for the fact that many victims of childhood sexual abuse wait years, and sometimes decades, to report their abuse. An immediate complaint in a child sexual abuse case is rare. It takes tremendous courage for someone to come forward about their abuse. The trauma of sexual abuse can make it very difficult for victims to come to grips with what happened to them. Feelings of guilt and shame coupled with societal and community pressures can prevent survivors from coming forward sooner. In addition, deception and intimidation tactics by institutions that harbor abusers may also be factors in delayed reporting.
Importance of Justice
Once survivors are ready to come forward, they should be given the opportunity to seek justice against their abusers and the institutions that enabled the abuse. Compensation for abuse is important to survivors as it can help them with the costs of long-term therapy and medical care and award them damages for the pain and suffering they have endured as a result of the trauma. It can also bring survivors a sense of closure and help in the healing process.
Consult with a Trusted Attorney
If you or someone you love has been the victim of childhood sexual abuse, it is important that you consult with an experienced and trusted attorney as soon as possible. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping injured New Yorkers, and we want to help you. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Se habla español.