Eliminate the Statute of Limitations for Child Sexual Abuse Offenses

Prevent Child Abuse New York supports A1771-S6367, the “Child Victims Act” which would eliminate statute of limitations in criminal actions and revive civil actions for sex offenses committed against a child less than eighteen years of age.

Take action now to support the Child Victims Act and eliminate the statute of limitations for sex offenses against children!

We firmly believe that we have a responsibility, as a state and as individuals, to prevent child sexual abuse and to help heal the hurt and harm to victims.

Sex crimes committed against children leave life-long mental, emotional, and physical scars on their victims. Yet New York’s current law allows most sex offenses against a child to be prosecuted for only five years after the child turns 18. The same five year limit, until their 23rd birthday, applies to child victims’ filing suit against an abuser.

By requiring victims come forward by their 23rd birthday, our law has the effect of protecting offenders. Most victims are not able to disclose their abuse to authorities until they are well into adulthood and are emotionally and financially free. Between 60% and 80% of adults who were sexually abused as children don’t disclose until they are adults (Alaggia, 2010). Only a small minority, 10%–18%, recall authorities being told of their abuse when they were children (K. London et. al. 2005).

Not only do victims have no legal recourse, but our failure to deal with offenders means that more children are victimized. Child sexual abuse is not a one-time, one-victim offense.

By eliminating the statute of limitations in childhood sexual abuse cases, victims will be able to have their day in court and seek the justice they have been denied, while other children are more likely to be protected from becoming future victims of the same offenders.

Furthermore, we support providing a one-year window of opportunity for victims of child sexual abuse to bring civil action, regardless of their current age. This provision provides survivors who have already been denied justice one year to seek redress in civil court. This feature is crucial, because civil suits identify abusers in “real time."

Prevent Child Abuse New York urges passage of this vital legislation.

Take action now to support the Child Victims Act and eliminate the statute of limitations for sex offenses against children!