How to File a Child Victims Act Lawsuit

Hundreds of New Yorkers who suffered sexual abuse as young children have been waiting for years to bring their claims to court. Now, thanks to the Child Victims Act, that time has come. The legislation, which was passed in 2019, enables survivors who were molested as minors, to bring civil claims against their abuser until their 55th birthday.

Before the Child Victims Act was signed into law, survivors of child sexual abuse had just one to five years to seek legal action against their abuser after turning 18.  The Act tolls the statute of limitations for filing child sexual abuse lawsuits in New York.

This means that victims can now file claims for monetary damages against the perpetrator, even if the molestation and abuse took place decades ago.

Child Victims Act provides additional time to seek justice

According to USA Today, the majority of Child Victims Act filings thus far have named Catholic priests as defendants and are seeking compensation from the parishes where this allegedly occurred.

In the context of civil litigation, the Act allows victims, whose cases were previously barred because of expired statute of limitations, to have a one-year grace period. This one-year “look-back” window started on August 14, 2019, when the Act officially became law.

If you have questions about how this legislation applies to you, please contact a New York Child Victims Act lawyer at Douglas & London for further information.

Who can be sued for child sexual assault?

Survivors can seek legal redress against individuals as well as institutions (private or public) that harbored the abusers or allegedly knew about the wrongdoing. This is possible because the new legislation does not have a “Notice of Claim” requirement that used to be mandatory when filing an action against a public institution.

How to file a civil Child Victims Act lawsuit

If you suffered sexual abuse as a minor in the state of New York, you may have a valid claim for damages. To pursue legal action:

  • The abuse must have taken place when you were under the age of 18
  • The abuse occurred in New York state
  • You are currently under the age of 55
  • You have not received legal compensation for the alleged offense

The limited “look-back” window applies until August 13, 2020, though many advocates want this deadline to be extended. Until this date, child sex abuse survivors can bring a civil case against individuals or institutions:

  • Regardless of their current age
  • No matter when the sexual abuse took place
  • Even if the case was dismissed because of expired statute of limitations
  • Regardless if a Notice of Claim was not filed
  • No matter the defendant (an organization, school, religious institution, or person)

At Douglas & London, we provide compassionate, client-centered advocacy that gets results, and our attorneys are available to discuss your options for legal recourse.

Fighting for survivor’s rights in New York

Sexual abuse happens to children of all races, ages, genders, and socio-economic backgrounds. Numerous studies have demonstrated the long-term psychological harm that victims suffer. Given the alarming number of Child Victims Act lawsuits already filed in New York, the courts have assigned judges who will only handle these claims. 

Cases have been brought against doctors, priests, scout leaders, teachers, family center counselors, coaches, as well as the various organizations for which they worked.

Contact us at Douglas and London

At Douglas & London, we believe the New York Child Victims Act is important and long overdue legislation. If you or someone you love was molested or sexually abused as a child, please contact our law office for a free case review.

There are no legal costs unless we settle or win your claim.