Victims of sexual abuse suffer serious psychological and sometimes physical injuries, especially when the abuse extends over a long period of time and involves multiple incidents. For some, seeking justice against their abuser is a daunting and overwhelming experience. The New York Legislature passed a new law that extends the state’s statute of limitations to provide victims of child sex abuse more time to pursue legal action against the perpetrator. The new law allows victims of sexual abuse to seek legal recourse until they are 55 years old, whereas the prior law only gave victims until the age of 23.
The new law also includes a so-called “look-back window” for adult victims of abuse that were unable to assert a legal claim under the prior law to bring their case within one year. This means that the individuals with a claim that expired under the previous statute of limitations have an opportunity to assert their claim. It is critical that these individuals speak to an experienced abuse lawyer to understand their rights and whether the new look-back window applies to their situation.
Also, when it comes to bringing legal action against a public institution in New York, plaintiffs are not required to present a notice of claim within 90 days after the alleged abuse occurred. The prior law did not require victims to submit a notice of claim to private organizations. Victims are also now able to seek misdemeanor charges against an abuser until their 25th birthday and they have until their 28th birthday to seek felony criminal charges.