Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation on Monday extending the look-back window for the Child Victims Act by a year.
The governor codified the Child Victims Act last year giving survivors of childhood sexual abuse a year-long window to file lawsuits against private and public institutions barred by the statute of limitations. Victims can now file claims until Aug. 14, 2021.
“The Child Victims Act has allowed more than 3,000 brave survivors to come forward to seek justice. Yet it’s clear many New Yorkers who survived child sexual abuse haven’t come forward — especially during the COVID-19 crisis which has upended our courts and economy,” said state Senator Brad Hoylman, one of the bill’s sponsors, in a statement.
Courts across the state shuttered their doors in mid-March due to the novel coronavirus pandemic causing a backlog of 39,200 criminal cases. In June, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore announced that New York City courts would resume in-person operations but a reduced capacity, with only judges and 20% of staff returning to courts.
“Survivors of childhood sex abuse can breathe a sigh of relief now that the look-back window of the Child Victims Act has been extended for one more year,” said Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, who also sponsored the bill. “After fighting for the law’s passage for 13 long years, many feared the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of the courts meant that the clock had run out on their opportunity to seek justice.”