Joyful Heart Foundation Applauds New York Legislature’s Passage of Child Victims Act

Bill would create pathway to justice for survivors of child sexual assault

For Immediate Release: January 28, 2019
Contact: Melissa Schwartz, media@endthebacklog.org

NEW YORK – The Joyful Heart Foundation (Joyful Heart) today applauded the New York legislature’s passage of the Child Victims Act (A.2683/S.2440), a bill that will help protect children across the state of New York and allow survivors additional time to seek justice in the state’s courts.

“This long overdue bill will finally allow survivors of child sexual assault the chance to seek justice and hold those who committed acts against them accountable,” said Ilse Knecht, Joyful Heart’s Director of Policy and Advocacy. “The Joyful Heart Foundation strongly supports legislation to reform outdated statutes of limitations for survivors of childhood sexual abuse, and all efforts to bring healing and justice to survivors. We are proud to stand with our partners and look forward to working with the legislature and Governor Cuomo on this effort.”

National data shows that one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. It is the exception, rather than the rule, that childhood sexual abuse is recognized and offenders are brought to justice -- but the Child Victims Act would begin to change that in New York.

Most survivors of childhood sexual abuse in New York must bring a criminal case forward or seek civil damages by the age of 23. This means that individuals who prey on children—and the institutions that failed to stop that abuse—are able to effectively run out the clock on being held accountable for these actions.

Sponsored by Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal and State Senator Brad Hoylman, the Child Victims Act will offer significant and meaningful reforms that will help survivors of childhood sexual abuse, including: extending the criminal and civil statute of limitations and creating a one year window to allow survivors over the age of 23 to file civil litigation against their abuser and, where applicable, the institution that covered up the abuse or failed to protect children.

“This bill will truly create a pathway to justice for survivors who thought they had none. We thank New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and New York Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins for their bold leadership, and bill sponsors Assemblymember Rosenthal and State Senator Hoylman for protecting children and standing with survivors in an effort to get this bill passed,” added Knecht.

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The mission of the Joyful Heart Foundation is to transform society’s response to sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse, support survivors’ healing, and end this violence forever. www.joyfulheartfoundation.org

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