By Emma Whitford
June 16, 2017
Governor Andrew Cuomo alleviated some advocate concerns on Thursday by introducing a Senate bill that would give victims of child abuse a larger window of time to seek justice. The program bill could still face an uphill battle in the Senate, which has been historically hostile towards efforts to expand the statute of limitations for sex abuse victims. But advocates hope the governor’s end-of-session move could push its hand.
Research shows that a majority of childhood victims wait at least five years before speaking. Under current law, most New York victims have only five years after they turn 18 to bring civil or criminal charges against their abusers—thanks to statute of limitations laws that are more prohibitive than most U.S. states, according to the victim abuse network Safe Horizon.
Proponents of the bill in its current form say altering the one-year window provision could significantly limit protections for victims over the age of 23. A spokeswoman for Safe Horizon told Gothamist that the advocacy group wants Cuomo’s bill to pass as-is.
“We can’t not have a window,” said Manhattan Senator Linda Rosenthal, a Democrat. “That’s what all the groups and survivors have been saying. If we only do [the law] prospectively, everyone who has been harmed or abused in the past has no recourse.”
Albany’s current session ends on June 21st. “There are a number of similar proposals on this issue and they remain under review,” Senate GOP spokesman Scott Reif told the Daily News.
NYC Republican Senators Marty Golden and Andrew Lanza did not immediately respond to a request for comment.