January 18, 2017
For more than a decade, Safe Horizon has advocated tirelessly for the Child Victims Act(CVA), a State bill to reform New York’s antiquated statute of limitations for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. To help elevate the importance of this legislation we organized a statewide coalition of survivors and advocates, led press conferences with prominent officials, advocated in closed-door meetings, and traveled repeatedly to Albany to raise our collective voices.
While we were pleased Governor Cuomo expressed support for the bill last year, we knew it would take the full force of his office to move this legislation across the finish line. We, therefore, urged Governor Cuomo to include the CVA in his budget, which affords him much greater leverage with the bill’s opponents.
On Tuesday, January 16th, 2018, Governor Cuomo responded to our advocacy by including the Child Victims Act in his budget proposal for the coming year. We extend our gratitude to the Governor for responding to the voices of survivors and advocates across New York and very much look forward to partnering with his office to move this bill forward as quickly as possible. We are also deeply indebted to the many hundreds of survivors who have bravely shared their stories of abuse with legislators, reporters, and the Governor’s office. The incredible courage of survivors has brought us closer than ever to passing this bill into law.
Now, we need your help again. Below is an open letter to Governor Cuomo, thanking him for prioritizing the Child Victims Act and calling on him to ensure it passes this year. Will you please join us in signing this letter?
Open Letter from Safe Horizon to Governor Cuomo
Dear Governor Cuomo,
Thank you for including the Child Victims Act in the 2018 New York State Executive Budget. We are proud that our state is moving towards bringing about long overdue reform to the statute of limitation laws for survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
All survivors of crime and abuse deserve justice. Because many survivors aren’t ready or able to disclose their abuse until much later in life, the current statute of limitation denies their ability to have their day in court. Fabio Cotza—Senior Director of Safe Horizon’s Bronx Child Advocacy Center— is one of these survivors.
Fabio came out when he was 28 years old as a survivor of child sexual assault but he was five years too late to file criminal charges or seek civil damages. It took him many years of therapy and support from loved ones to realize what happened to him wasn’t his fault. At only eight years old, he was targeted by his abuser. Sadly, this is only one story of many.
Somewhere in New York State, right now, there is an child experiencing the horrors of childhood sexual abuse. This child may face a long road to get to a place where they feel safe or able to come forward and speak about what happened to them. Should this child one day be ready to seek justice, they will now have more time to see justice in our courts against their abuser, thanks to your efforts to prioritize the Child Victims Act this year.
On behalf of survivors of childhood sexual abuse, and on behalf of Safe Horizon, we applaud you for including the Child Victims Act in the New York State Executive Budget. While this is not the end point—ultimately, we need you and New York State Leaders to pass the Child Victims Act as soon as possible —we thank you for making this legislation a priority and sending a message that abusers should no longer be able to run out the clock on being held accountable.
Safe Horizon and the undersigned.