New York Daily News
May 19, 2022
By Denis Slattery
A long-sought bill that would allow adult survivors of sexual abuse to hold their alleged abusers accountable is on track for approval.
Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan) announced Thursday that there are enough votes in her chamber to pass the Adult Survivors Act before the end of the legislative session early next month.
“Today is a watershed moment for survivors of sexual assault in New York and across the country,” Rosenthal said. “Today, New York State recognizes that ensuring justice for survivors of sexual assault is more important than maintaining arbitrary statutes of limitations that have for years shielded predators from justice.”
The legislation, modeled after the 2019 Child Victims Act, would temporarily lift the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits against abusers of people over 18 and provide a one-year period to take legal action.
“Survivors did this. Never, ever, question the strength and power of survivors,” tweeted the Sexual Harassment Working Group, a collective of former state legislative staffers and survivors of sexual misconduct.
The Democratic-led Senate unanimously approved the measure late last month for the second year in a row.
The bill, which stalled and did not come up for a vote in the Assembly last year, is now likely heading to Gov. Hochul’s desk in the near future.
“Governor Hochul has long supported justice for survivors of violence and abuse, and she will sign this bill when it passes,” said Hochul spokeswoman Hazel Crampton-Hays.
The measure would suspend the statute of limitations for adult survivors, who often don’t come to terms with their sexual abuse within the legal time frame established to file lawsuits.
The Child Victims Act opened up a similar one-year window for survivors of childhood sexual abuse to bring alleged abusers to court long after statutes of limitation have passed.
Extensions due to the COVID-19 pandemic allowed survivors additional time and eventually more than 10,000 suits were filed under the law.
Safe Horizon, a leading victim assistance organization, spearheaded a coalition of groups pushing for the bill’s passage for years.
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, one of dozens of advocacy groups in the coalition, called the bill’s potential passage a “huge victory for survivors’ rights in New York.”
“Brave survivors of sexual abuse poured out their stories, revisited their trauma, and made time to advocate so a safer world can be lived in, their strength has won,” the group said in a statement.