On May 24, 2022, The Adult Survivors Act, New York Senate Bill S66A, was signed into law by New York Governor Kathy Hochul. The Adult Survivors Act opens a one-year time period for adults (18 years of age and older) to file a civil lawsuit against a perpetrator of sexual abuse or assault—regardless of statutes of limitations that would have previously barred victims from taking legal action. During this one-year revival window, survivors of sex offenses have the opportunity to seek justice against abusers.
This new law is similar to New York’s Child Victims Act, a revival act that allowed more than 9,000 lawsuits to be filed by individuals who survived childhood sexual abuse. Now closed, the window provided the opportunity for cases that had once been time-barred to be processed and given priority in court. Through the legal actions of survivors, countless sexual offenses against children were brought to justice. Many lawsuits targeted organizations such as schools, churches, scout groups, camps, and youth community programs that had labored for decades to conceal the ongoing sexual abuse and assault of minors.
In her statement following the bill’s enactment into law, New York Senator Anna M. Kaplan recognized that abuse survivors are too often given insufficient opportunity to pursue justice against perpetrators through a civil lawsuit.
“For too long, New York’s outdated laws made it difficult for survivors of abuse to seek justice, causing too many to suffer in silence to avoid being re-victimized by an unforgiving legal process. The Adult Survivors Act recognizes that we have failed too many survivors, and finally gives them an opportunity to speak out, have their day in court, and hopefully find an opportunity for healing.”
Laws like The Adult Survivors Act and The Child Victims Act acknowledge the important role that civil law plays in holding abusers accountable and rooting out systemic sexual crime at the organizational level. A lawsuit filed against an organization has the power to prevent hundreds or even thousands of individuals from future sexual abuse.
But for many abuse and assault survivors, filing a lawsuit within the statute of limitations is simply not a feasible reality. There are often insurmountable physical, emotional, psychological, social, and financial obstacles that prevent a person from taking the steps to begin legal procedures.
At our law firm, we make it our goal to never let those obstacles stand in the way of justice. If you or someone you love is a survivor of sexual abuse or assault, an experienced attorney from Thomas Law Offices is ready to help you hold an abuser accountable for their actions. We have advocated for individuals nationwide whose lives were shattered by a perpetrator of sexual offenses. Through our efforts, we continually strive to ensure that no abuser is allowed to continue to victimize others.
We understand how difficult it is to come forward after abuse. When you partner with a sexual assault lawyer from Thomas Law Offices, you know that you have a representative who will treat every matter of your case with dignity, sensitivity, and confidentiality. Contact our law firm to schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options.