Sexual Abuse Claim Deadline is fast approaching in New York

The clock is ticking for justice for sexual abuse victims and many are not aware of it, but if you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse in the past, you should be. The numbers of people coming forward to tell of the abuse they have suffered, shattering their lives, is well publicized. Accounts of sexual abuse both past and present have become all too common in our society. For a limited period of time those who have been victimized can now do something about it.

If you are an adult who was the victim of sexual abuse in New York as a child, you may be eligible to take legal action against those responsible under the New York Child Victims Act that went in to effect in August of 2019. This important legislation allows adult survivors of child sex abuse to file civil claims, regardless of New York’s statute of limitations, that until now barred most survivors of sexual abuse from taking action. The initial a one-year window was set to end in August of 2020, but due to the global pandemic and the number of cases filed before the pandemic, the time to file was extended to August 14, 2021, a deadline that is rapidly approaching.

Child sexual abuse can occur in schools, in private homes in community organizations, at colleges and universities and in the workplace. If you or a loved one has suffered from sexual abuse, you now have a limited opportunity to hold your abuser and those who facilitated their behavior, accountable for the harm you have suffered.

Sexual Abusers Are Often Known to Victims and Their Families

The concept of a sexual abuser as an easily detectible outsider is often not true. While some people may think that sexual abuse is typically committed by persons unknown to their victims, most cases of sexual abuse occur between an abuser and a victim who have some sort of prior relationship. Many perpetrators of sexual abuse are known and trusted by their victims, their victims’ families, and by the community at large.

Abusers often use these relationships to “groom” their victims, and then later to convince victims to go along with the abuse or to not report it all. Being abused by someone in a position of trust, authority, or respect often makes it harder for victims to come forward, because they fear they will not be believed or that they themselves did something to cause the abuse.

Types of Abuse

Sexual abuse can come in many different forms. At its core, sexual abuse occurs when a victim is subjected to a sexual act or sexual conduct without their consent. Examples of types of sexual abuse include:

  • Rape
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual contact
  • Forcible touching
  • Forced exposure
  • Date rape, or using controlled substances to facilitate a sex offense

Pursuing a Civil Claim for Sexual Abuse

Although sexual abuse unequivocally constitutes a crime under New York law, victims of sexual abuse may also pursue justice against their abusers and those who facilitated the abuse through the civil justice system.

In a civil sexual abuse claim, rather than trying to prove the abuser’s “guilt,” an abuse victim seeks to prove that their abuser should be held legally liable for the harm and losses suffered by the victim. In addition, through a civil claim, an abuse victim can also pursue accountability and justice from other parties or organizations whose negligence or recklessness may have enabled the abuser’s conduct.

For example, when sexual abuse is committed by a teacher against a student, the school may be held liable for hiring a teacher who posed a substantial risk of committing sexual abuse, or for not taking reasonable steps to supervise the teacher’s behavior.

Even though money cannot undo the abuse inflicted on a victim, compensation in a sexual abuse claim can help provide a sexual abuse victim with financial resources for their recovery. Being able to hold their abusers accountable can also offer some measure of justice to a victim. Compensation in a sexual abuse claim may include:

  • Medical expenses to treat physical injuries or harm
  • Long-term care costs, including therapy to treat emotional trauma
  • Lost income or earning capacity
  • Physical anguish and emotional distress
  • Reduced quality of life due to the physical and emotional harm suffered
  • Punitive damages, which punishes the abuser and other liable parties for egregious conduct

Pursuing a legal claim is not an easy step for a sexual abuse victim to take. Many victims, due to their young age, fear, or shame or humiliation, delay reporting their abuse until years after the fact. Fortunately, the laws in New York are changing to reflect the difficulty that victims face in coming forward and to give them full opportunity to pursue accountability and justice.

If you need to file a claim under the New York Child Victims Act, don’t wait until it is too late. Contact an experienced New York sexual abuse attorney right away.

Contact The Mandel Law Firm for Help

Having to relive and recount past abuse in a sexual abuse claim can be incredibly difficult. Our sexual abuse lawyers stand ready to offer you the support you need. If you or a family member has been the victim of sexual abuse, contact The Mandel Law Firm for a free, confidential consultation with a compassionate, knowledgeable New York sexual abuse attorney. We are caring, experienced professionals who will stand up for your rights and help you obtain the closure you deserve.

Call us now. The time is running out for you to be able to obtain justice, closure and the financial compensation you deserve.