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Safe Horizon Applauds Lawmakers and Governor Hochul for Passing and Enacting the Adult Survivors Act

On May 24, 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul signed the Adult Survivors Act (ASA) into law. The Adult Survivors Act (ASA) is a new State law, authored by Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal and State Senator Brad Hoylman, that creates a special one-year look back window to allow time-barred individuals who were 18 or older when they were sexually assaulted in New York State to file a lawsuit against the person who harmed them and/or the negligent institution. The one-year window will begin open in late November, six months from signing, and will allow survivors to sue, even if they were already outside of the civil statute of limitations. Check back to find out more as the window approaches.

At Safe Horizon, we believe that all survivors of sexual assault deserve the chance to heal and seek justice regardless of when the abuse occurred or their age at the time of abuse. For many adults assaulted in New York State, the period for filing lawsuits is determined by different factors and leaves justice out of reach for many survivors. The Adult Survivors Act would give survivors assaulted when they were an adult and who are barred by unfair statute of limitations an opportunity to seek civil justice in the courts.

What is the Adult Survivors Act?

The Adult Survivors Act (ASA) is a new law that creates a special one year look back window to allow individuals who were 18 or older when they were sexually assaulted in New York State to file a lawsuit against the person who harmed them and/or the negligent institution. The New York State legislature passed this law because of the very short statute of limitations that most adult survivors of sexual assault currently face.

What Does it Mean That a “Negligent Institution” Can be Sued?

When we say institution, we are referring to any organization. This can include schools, houses of worship, or the workplace. Institutions are considered negligent when they knew, or should have had known, about the abuse.

How Would the ASA Work?

  • Beginning November 24, 2022, any time-barred individual who was sexually assaulted in New York State will have one year to file a retrospective civil lawsuit
  • The ASA will only set aside the civil statute of limitations for the duration of the one-year window. When that window expires, the existing statute of limitations would once again be in effect

Who Could Benefit from the ASA?

  • Any time-barred individual who was sexually assaulted as an adult in New York State. Under New York law, an adult is considered to be 18 years of age or older.

Did New York State Already Reform Statutes of Limitations for Sexual Assault and Rape Cases?

In 2019, New York State lawmakers extended the statute of limitations by 20 years for adults filing civil lawsuits for a select number of sex crimes. However, this only affects new cases, and is not retroactive.

What is the Difference Between the Adult Survivors Act and the Child Victims Act?

The Child Victims Act (CVA) took effect in 2019 and changed the criminal and civil statutes of limitations in cases of child sexual assault. In addition to extending the statutes of limitations forward, the CVA created a special one-year look back window to allow time-barred survivors to file a civil lawsuit against their abuser and/or the negligent institution. The CVA only applies to cases where the victim was younger than 18 years old at the time of the abuse. The ASA will create a similar one-year window for people were already adults when they were assaulted.

The Latest News on the Adult Survivors Act

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Why we Support the ASA