Child Abuse Victims
Child sexual abuse has extremely damaging, life-long effects on the victim, their loved ones, and the entire community. According to RAINN, Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, child protective services validates or finds evidence of child sexual abuse every 11 minutes.
Sexual acts of molestation or violence of children is an misuse of trust, authority, and power. It can happen in various vulnerable situations such as public and private schools, youth organizations, sports training of all levels, religious institutions, or hospitals and doctors offices during the course of medical treatment.
This type of cruelty is inflicted on a child who lacks the emotional capability to fully comprehend or resist their abuser and has devastating and permanent impressions on their physical and mental health and overall well being.
Due to their fear, shame, and confusion, children often don’t speak up about their sexual abuse. These children are threatened, intimidated, and scared of their abuser. They don't have the vocabulary to describe their sexual abuse and they don’t realize that what has happened to them is a crime.
For many child abuse victims, it takes years, decades even, to develop the emotional and mental strength to accuse their abuser. A study by the National Institutes of Health found that between 60–80% of child sexual abuse victims withhold disclosure until adulthood. Research shows that most child sexual abuse survivors do not reveal the abuse until they reach their 40s.
These violent acts occur in secret and behind closed doors, but they have both private and public consequences. Victims, their families, and the community can suffer for decades after the abuse ends. Studies have shown that child sexual abuse victims may have higher rates of academic problems, loss of interest and productivity, teen pregnancy, drug and alcohol addiction issues, delinquency and crime problems, a higher use of mental health and health care services, and increased risk of causing self harm and suicide.
New York State recently took a vital first step in helping to end the silence and inaction surrounding this very disturbing topic and begin a cultural shift towards healing and justice for countless victims.
The Child Victims Act was signed into law on February 14, 2019 by Governor Andrew Cuomo. This Act will allow thousands of New Yorkers who suffered abuse as children to have the chance to seek justice and have access to the courts to do so. Under the old law, child sexual abuse offenses could not be prosecuted over five years after their occurrence and civil lawsuits for this conduct had to be brought within three years of the victim's 18th birthday. This law changes the statute of limitations for both criminal and civil child sexual abuse cases in New York State.
The new law:
• Expands the length of time during which perpetrators of these crimes may be held criminally accountable;
• Allows victims of these crimes to initiate a civil lawsuit at any time before they reach 55 years of age;
• Offers victims whose claims have been time-barred a new opportunity for their day in court by opening a one-year window for them to commence their action, regardless of when the abuse occurred;
• Gives private and public entities the same treatment and eliminates the requirement to file a notice of claim within 90 days against a public entity to sue for sexual offenses committed against a minor;
• Demands judicial training with respect to crimes involving the sexual abuse of minors;
• Allows the Office of Court Administration to proclaim rules and regulations for the timely adjudication of revived actions.
The revival period for otherwise time-barred claims begins six months after the law was signed on February 14, 2019 and lasts the duration of one year. Therefore, it initiates on August 14, 2019.
The one-year look back window is crucial to protecting victims of child sexual abuse. Founder and CEO of CHILD USA, Professor Marci Ann Hamilton, refers to this look back window as “a window of justice. The window permits victims to file suit in instances in which the statute of limitations has lapsed. Prior to this new law, victims were restricted in bringing a claim against their abusers unless it was done before their 23rd birthday and against an institution by their 21st birthday. As a result, most victims did not bring claims within the statute of limitations period and these survivors had no measure of justice available to them.
The passage of The Child Victims Act in New York State means child abuse victims finally have the opportunity to hold the abusers and the institutions that enabled the predators accountable. It is believed that The Child Victims Act will also help expose child sexual predators not previously identified who are likely still abusing innocent children.
At Brindisi, Murad & Brindisi Pearlman the victim always takes top precedence. Our focus is and always has been to provide incomparable advocacy on behalf of our clients with sincere caring and sensitivity to the victim’s experience and their daily struggle to process the abuse they suffered. We work hard to clearly explain all legal and human elements of our clients’ claims and experiences and to hold institutions accountable to obtain justice for our clients. Contact Brindisi, Murad & Brindisi and Pearlman for a free consultation today. Let us fight for you. Call us today.
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