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Survivors and Advocates Urge NYS Legislature To Pass Child Victims Act To Eliminate Statue of Limitation for Victims of Child Sexual Abuse



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 2, 2016
Contact: Min Um-Mandhyan
Director of Development and Communications
Email: mummandhyan@svfreenyc.org
Phone: 212-229-0459 
 
Survivors and Advocates Urge NYS Legislature To Pass Child Victims Act To Eliminate Statue of Limitation for Victims of Child Sexual Abuse

[New York] The NYC Alliance Against Sexual Assault urges the New York State Legislature to pass two pieces of legislation, A.9877/S.7296 and A.8567/S6436 before the 2016 legislation session ends this month. If passed, both bills would drop the time limit currently restricting child sex abuse victims from issuing civil lawsuits and seeking justice in criminal courts under New York State Penal Law. These bills are sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman and Assembly Member Marge Markey.
 
Currently, individuals abused as children have until their 23rd birthday to issue a civil case. A.9877/S.7296 drops this limitation and gives child abuse victims a one-year window to retroactively file civil damages against their perpetrators. A.8567/S6436 would eliminate a criminal statute of limitations also tied to 23-year birthdays for a wider range of lessor sex crimes under Penal Law. 
 
Child sexual abuse is one of the most under-reported crimes and has a long-lasting negative effects on a child development. According to a Crimes Against Children Research Center study, 20 % of all U.S. girls and 5 % of all U.S. boys have been sexually abused.  Also, 42% of U.S. female rape victims are under 18; and more approximately 25% of U.S. male rape victims were first raped before age 10, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
 
"Thank you Senator Brad Hoylman and Assembly Member Marge Markey (D-Queens) for sponsoring these bills and recognizing what it takes to prevent serial perpetrators from targeting victims in homes, institutions, playgrounds, schools - in places where children are expected to be safe and protected," says Mary Haviland, executive director at the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault. "These bills are about justice for childhood survivors of sexual assault and are the result of a long, hard fight" says Haviland. "We are heartened to see a ground swell of support for this legislation from all over New York State, from diverse communities and from leaders on this issue. We ask that the Legislature and governor act this year to protect our most vulnerable victims of sexual abuse, our children."
 
Compared to other states, New York has one of the shortest statute of limitations for child sexual abuse, enabling perpetrators to continue to commit sexual abuse.
 
"That a survivor of abuse in New York has no option to seek justice after the age of 23 is a disgrace to our state," says Susan Xenarios, Director of the Crime Victims Treatment Center at Mount Sinai West and St. Luke's Hospitals in NYC.  "It means that many survivors cannot fully heal, and that the dangerous pedophiles who hurt them remain comfortably in the community, continuing to abuse other children.  This legislation will not only allow survivors to seek the justice they deserve, but will expose the dangerous individuals who have been allowed to continuously and chronically perpetrate crimes against children in our communities."
 
Survivors, advocates, activists, and elected officials are rallying to pressure the Legislature to pass the bill by circulating a petition and organizing a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge on Sunday, June 5. The Alliance is one of more than 30 organizations joining the walk. 
 
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The New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault builds the capacity of communities, organizations, and institutions to advance the right to live free from sexual violence and reduce the harm it causes individuals, families, and society

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Group holding Borough President Stringerís Proclamation
Group holding Borough President Stringerís Proclamation