Senate Unanimously Passes Historic Child Victims Act, Putting Full Force of Law Behind Survivors
Senator Holyman's remarks on the floor can be viewed here
ALBANY, NY - Senator Brad Hoylman (D/WF-Manhattan) released the following statement in response to the historic passage of the Child Victims Act (S.2440/A.2683) through the state legislature:
Senator Hoylman said: “For years, New York’s broken statute of limitations has denied survivors of child sexual abuse their opportunity to seek justice. People in power across the state said this wasn't a real issue. It was someone else's problem, not our own. It happened someplace else, not here. It was just a few isolated cases, not a widespread epidemic.
We can no longer deny the truth. Child sexual abuse happened everywhere. It happened here in New York. It happened in every kind of institution. It happened to boys and to girls, and to people who don't identify as either gender. It happened to teenagers and to newborn children. It happened to rich kids and to poor ones. It happened to children of every race. It happened to gay kids and to straight ones. It happened to children who had already been abused, and to others who were newly victimized.
Countless young people were abused. But it wasn't their only victimization. Because after years, often decades of living with this trauma, many of these young men and women tried to seek justice. New York denied them that opportunity. No longer.
Today, in passing the Child Victims Act, we are finally telling survivors: the State of New York and the full force of its law is behind you, and you will not be turned away.
I am thankful to be a part of a Democratic majority that believes survivors, and for the undeterred support of our Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousin, who drove the fight for this legislation forward year after year despite the obstinance of our Republican colleagues. I am also thankful to Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal for leading the charge in the Assembly on this critical piece of legislation.
For over a decade, survivors have stood with us shoulder to shoulder in their fight for justice. You have shown incredible courage. Now, as you seek to hold your abusers accountable, we are here to stand with you.”
Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal said: “Today is a historic and watershed day for survivors of child sexual abuse in New York State. After thirteen years of struggle, the Child Victims Act will finally be passed in both chambers, granting survivors with access to our courts at long last. The courage and bravery of the survivors and advocates who have carried us to this point is beyond description, and finally their day has arrived.”
Marci A. Hamilton, CEO of Child USA and professor at University of Pennsylvania,: “This is a historic day for New York as lawmakers choose children over predators and safety over endangerment. It has taken an army of lawmakers, survivors, and advocates to make this happen -- even though the Child Victims Act should be a no-brainer. We know from other states that window legislation is good for victims, good for children, and good for the state.”
Stephen Jiminez, survivor and advocate, said,: “Passage of the Child Victims Act is an exhilarating and empowering moment for those of us who have been waging this battle in Albany for a dozen years. This has happened because of the unflinching efforts of survivors, advocates, and organizations statewide that refused to be intimidated by powerful politicians and institutions.”
The Child Victims Act would extend New York’s statutes of limitations for child sexual abuse and create a one-year lookback window within which survivors would be able to initiate claims against their abusers in cases where the statute of limitations has expired. Under the new legislation, survivors of child sexual abuse will be permitted to bring a civil lawsuit against their abuser or institutions that enabled or protected their abuser by the age of 55, up from the current age of 23. Additionally, those abused at a public institution will no longer be required to file a notice of claim as a condition to filing a lawsuit.
The legislation previously passed the Assembly by wide margins in 2017 and 2018, but has stalled in the State Senate.