Many survivors of sexual assault need time to process the hurt they’ve experienced; it might take years or even decades for a survivor to tell someone what happened to them. For years, our laws were out of step with that reality. Because of that, many survivors lost the opportunity to hold the person who hurt them accountable in court.
Now, those survivors are getting a fighting chance.
The Adult Survivors Act is a New York State law that creates a one-time, one-year lookback window for adult sexual assault survivors who are outside the statute of limitations. That means that any adult survivor – no matter when they were assaulted and even if they are outside the statute of limitations – can file a civil case against their abuser or the institution that protected them, through November 23, 2023.
What is the timing of the Adult Survivors Act?
The one-year window to file civil cases opens on November 23, 2022, and closes on November 23, 2023.
Who Can be Held Accountable Under the Adult Survivors Act?
When we say institution, we mean any organization that knew or should have known, abuse was happening. This can include schools, houses of worship, or a workplace.
How Would the Adult Survivors Act Work?
- The lookback window opens on November 23, 2022, and closes on November 23, 2023.
- Starting on November 23, 2022, anyone who was sexually assaulted as an adult in New York State, and whose claim was previously outside the statute of limitations, will have one year to file a retrospective civil lawsuit.
- When the one-year Adult Survivors Act window expires, the existing statute of limitations will once again be in effect. Since every sexual offense may not qualify under the ASA, you should speak with a lawyer who can figure out if you are eligible to file a case. It may also be helpful to look through Article 130 which lists all the crimes under the ASA.
- To find a lawyer or firm, we recommend looking at the Crime Victim Bar Association page.
Who Could Benefit from the Adult Survivors Act?
- Anyone who was sexually assaulted as an adult in New York State and whose claim is outside the statute of limitations. Under New York law, an adult is anyone who is 18 or older.
What is the Difference Between the Adult Survivors Act and the Child Victims Act?
The Child Victims Act helps adults who were abused when they were younger than 18 years old. The Adult Survivors Act applies to people who were abused as adults. To learn more about the Child Victims Act click here or visit safehorizon.org/cva.
Where Can I Find More Information on How and if I want to File?
Safe Horizon isn’t an expert on these kinds of civil cases, but we organized a panel webinar of lawyers who work with survivors. Click here to learn more.
What should I look for when I talk to a lawyer?
Look for a lawyer who has experience working on cases involving sexual abuse and assault. A lawyer who has handled cases that are similar to yours can help navigate any issues that may arise in your case. Find a lawyer who you feel that you can trust. For more guidance on how to pick a lawyer, our experts created this guide.
Help Raise Awareness of the Adult Survivors Act!
- Download this toolkit and spread the word on social media!
- Watch and share our PSA