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NY Senators ask colleagues to extend Child Victims Act amid COVID-19

Advocates of the Child Victims Act (CVA) as well as child abuse victims themselves are currently urging lawmakers to extend the lookback window of the  Child Victims Act (CVA) for another year, which would give adult victims of childhood sexual abuse more time to file legal actions against their perpetrators.

Unfortunately, with COVID-19 putting a halt to all non essential cases, which includes any CVA proceedings, the challenge for victims has now decreased their time frame from a one year window to a matter of months. CVA advocates and victims are pushing lawmakers to extend their CVA window as part of the rights of survivors.

NY health officials and the Governors office is so focused on the enormous amounts of COVID-19 cases that they have not even allotted the CVA in the budget. Which means even though Legislature is technically still in session, this matter is not at the forefront of urgency.

The primary sponsors of this bill, Senator Brad Hoylman, D-Manhattan and Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, D-Manhattan, are asking fellow lawmakers to return to session digitally to  allow victims to file legal claims against their abusers and their employers until August 14, 2021 after the holiday break is over.

The  CVA (S.2240/A.2683) was passed last year in August which  extended the statute of limitations age for childhood sexual abuse to 28-years-old for criminal cases and 55-years-old for civil cases. The most critical component of the bill which was passed in August was opening the lookback window which allowed survivors of any age a one year window to report and file a civil case against their abuser or any liable institution no matter when the abuse took place.

However, Coronavirus has closed all the courts to non essential cases which also includes CVA proceedings. 

“The 12-month period we promised has been cut by nearly 50 percent,” Holyman said. “That is completely unfair to survivors who’ve already been subject to decades of unfair treatment from our legal system through the various attenuated statutes of limitation.”

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