As an indication of how important he views the legislation, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday he will include the Child Victims Act in his 2019-20 executive budget proposal.
The Child Victims Act would increase the statute of limitations to age 28 for criminal child sex abuse cases. For civil cases, the statute of limitations would be age 50. Existing state law prevents child sex abuse offenses from being prosecuted five years after the crime occurred and there is only a three-year window after the victim turns 18 when they can file civil lawsuits against their attacker.
The legislation is sponsored by Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal and state Sen. Brad Hoylman, a pair of Manhattan Democrats. Cuomo’s office said the governor’s proposal is “consistent” with the bill authored by Hoylman and Rosenthal.
Under Cuomo’s plan, there would be a one-year look back provision to allow child sex abuse survivors to pursue civil actions against perpetrators. The governor’s legislation would eliminate the requirement that a notice of claim is filed for sexual offenses against children.
Cuomo wants to require judges to be trained on handling cases involving sexually abused children, and would allow the state Office of Court Administration to set rules for adjudicating revived claims against sexual abusers.
When Cuomo unveiled his agenda for the first 100 days of 2019, he included the Child Victims Act in his legislative wish list. He has supported the bill in the past. But some Republican senators raised concerns about the look-back provision. Despite bipartisan support for the bill and the state Assembly’s passage of the measure, it didn’t advance in the Republican-led Senate.
With Democrats in control of the state Senate, Cuomo believes the Child Victims Act will pass this year.
“There has been a degradation of justice for childhood sexual assault survivors who have suffered for decades by the authority figures they trusted most,” Cuomo said. “That ends this year with the enactment of the Child Victims Act to provide survivors with a long-overdue path to justice.”
A rally is planned for Monday in Albany to push for passage of the Child Victims Act.
The Child Victims Act will be part of the 2019 executive budget Cuomo unveils Tuesday. He will deliver a joint State of the State-budget address at 2 p.m. in Albany. His speech will serve as a formal outline of his agenda for this year’s legislative session and detail his spending proposal for the upcoming fiscal year.