ALBANY – A renewed push to pass legislation that would give adult survivors of child sex abuse more time to file a lawsuit against their aggressor is underway in Albany.
Based on the Child Victims Act, the Adult Survivors Act would create a special one-year look-back window to allow people who were 18 or older when they were sexually assaulted in New York State to file a lawsuit against the person who harmed them and/or the negligent institution.
The legislation focuses on sexual assault and harassment.
New York defines sexual assault as any act of violence either physical or verbal in which sex is used as a weapon.
At its most basic level, sexual assault refers to any form of nonconsensual sexual activity which encompasses all unwanted sexual acts from intimidation to touching to penetration. Sexual assault is also defined as an act of aggression designed to humiliate, intimidate, control or instill fear.
“While we deem someone at the age of 18 to be an adult, I’m not sure if that works when we’re talking about these horrific situations,” said Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon. “So, this legislation would give the year for an individual to come forward vs the statute of limitations in the past that the person would have to come forward within that three to six-year period.”
The argument for the bill is that people who experience abuse are traumatized and it often takes them years, if not decades, to come to terms with what happened to them.
The legislation has been in committee since January, and the sponsors for the bill continue to push to get it to the floor for a vote.