New York State Senate Passed Adult Survivor Act – Status Update
Lesley Brovner & Mark Peters
April 27, 2022
Latest New York State Senate Action on Adult Survivor Act
On April 26, 2022, the New York State Senate took a crucial step towards vindicating the rights of survivors of sexual assault by passing the Adult Survivors Act (S66A).
The Adult Survivors Act (ASA), if enacted, would be a landmark law that would create a lookback period allowing the adult victims of sexual assault and abuse, whose claims are now time-barred, to pursue those claims in court.
The Act recognizes the fact that survivors often need time to process what has occurred before they can move forward in court.
What is the Adult Survivors Act & how is it Similar to the Child Victim’s Act
The ASA is modelled on Child Victims Act (CVA) which created a lookback window for survivors of sexual assault who were under the age of 18 at the time of the assault. The CVA resulted in over ten-thousand lawsuits and was incredibly effective at allowing survivors of sexual abuse to hold institutions accountable.
Why do we need the ASA?
The CVA only applied to cases of abuse where the victim was under eighteen years of age. The ASA would create a similar one-year lookback window for survivors of sexual abuse who are over eighteen and whose claims are presently time barred. For civil cases, right now, adult survivors of sexual abuse generally have three years to file a claim. For criminal cases, the statute of limitation is generally five years for felonies, and two years for misdemeanors – some of which can be quite serious.
History of Adult Survivor Act
This is the second year that the State Senate has passed this bill. Last year it died in the State Assembly, but there is increasing pressure from advocates to get the bill passed in the Assembly this year as well.
What needs to happen now?
Now the Assembly must act, and the Governor must sign this bill into law.
Survivors of sexual assault have waited too long.
It took over 12 years for the Child Victim’s Act to Pass in New York State. Adult victims of Sexual Assault should not be faced with the same unconscionable delay before they are able to obtain justice.