Albany lawmakers pass legislation to help adult survivors of sexual abuse

Adult survivors of sexual abuse will be given the option to sue their attackers for a year in civil damages — despite existing statutes of limitations — under laws state legislatures hope to pass by early June.

“I’m over the moon … this will really, really do wonders for survivors who are struggling,” Rep. Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan) told the Post of the bill she supports.

She is confident that her chamber will pass the law before the scheduled end of the legislature on June 2.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie did not respond to a request for comment on the bill, which Spectrum News first reported on Thursday.

A spokeswoman for Gov. Kathy Hochul confirmed that she will sign the bill into law soon after passage of the bill by the Assembly, which has already been approved by the state Senate.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul plans to sign the law into law soon.
Getty Images/Scott Olson

The bipartisan law, which comes into effect six months after Hochul signed the law into law, is modeled on the Child Victims Act, which was passed by lawmakers in 2019 after years of effort.

Sexual abuse survivors have less than five years to file civil suits for most types of cases under current laws, which would be suspended for a year when the law goes into effect.

Proponents say a so-called hindsight window will help people who were assaulted in the years before 2019, when lawmakers extended the statute of limitations for many sex offenses committed against people who were 18 or older at the time of their abuse.

Supporters of both bills said it often takes abuse survivors years to process their experiences before they can hold their attacks accountable — efforts often hampered by existing statutes of limitations.

“It’s an amazing breakthrough moment for sex abuse survivors in New York, and I would argue the nation… We’re only here for the stories that survivors share. Credit goes to their perseverance and courage,” said Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) of the bill he sponsored in his own chamber. Albany lawmakers pass legislation to help adult survivors of sexual abuse


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