Adult Survivors Act
Peters Brovner LLP is a boutique law firm that represents survivors of sexual abuse and assault.
What is the Adult Survivors Act?
The Adult Survivors Act (ASA), which goes into effect November 24, 2022, is a landmark law that creates a lookback period allowing the adult victims of sexual assault and abuse to pursue time barred claims in court.
Passing the Adult Survivors Act was essential to provide justice to the countless people in New York State who have been assaulted and abused.
The Adult Survivors Act is modelled on the Child Victims Act, which created a lookback window for survivors of child sexual abuse who were under the age of 18 at the time of the assault. The Child Victims Act resulted in over 9,000 lawsuits and has been incredibly effective at holding institutions accountable for long-ago abuse of children.
To understand the importance of the Adult Survivors Act it is worth looking at the details of the Child Victims Act. In February 2019, New York State passed the Child Victims Act, extending the statute of limitations for survivors of child sex abuse in criminal and civil cases in New York
The Child Victims Act allowed survivors of sexual abuse to hold powerful institutions liable for abuse that they tolerated for years. It helped more than 9,000 survivors seek justice for the wrongs committed against them.
Now we have the Adult Survivors Act. The Child Victims Act only applied to cases of abuse where the victim was under 18 years of age. The Adult Survivors Act creates a similar one-year lookback window for time barred-claims of survivors of sexual abuse who are over 18 and whose claims are presently time-barred.
Common Examples of Sexual Abuse and Assault
With regards to sexual assault, it’s important to remember that the incident is never the victim’s fault. If force or coercion are used and/or the actions are nonconsensual – not wanted or agreed to – an assault occurred.
Types of sexual assault include any unwanted sexual activity, including:
- attempted rape
- sexual contact or touching
- forcing the victim to perform sexual acts
- rape: unlawful sexual intercourse or penetration of the victim’s body by a body part or object
Who Can Be Held Responsible
In addition to individuals, employers or other officials with oversight responsibilities who attempt to hide the sexual abuse from the authorities or who remain willfully blind to the assaults can be held liable in civil proceedings.
Criminal Penalties for Offenders
There are a variety of penalties for sexual assault and abuse, depending on the offense charged. There are various crimes, listed in Article 130 of the New York State Penal Code, which could be charged in these cases. These include:
- Rape, including Rape in the First Degree, which is a Class B Felony and consists of “sexual intercourse with another person: (1) by forcible compulsion; or (2) who is incapable of consent by reason of being physically helpless; or (3) who is less than eleven years old; or (4) who is less than thirteen years old and the actor is eighteen years old or more.” See Penal Code 130.35.
- Sexual abuse in the first degree which I a Class D Felony and occurs when a person
subjects another person to sexual contact: (1) By forcible compulsion; or (2) When the other person is incapable of consent by reason of being physically helpless; or (3) When the other person is less than eleven years old; or (4) When the other person is less than thirteen years old and the actor is twenty-one years old or older. See Penal Code S 130.65
- Sexual abuse in the first degree is a class D felony. See Penal Code S 130.65
- Forcible Touching, which is a class A misdemeanor and consists of, among other things, “when [a] person intentionally, and for no legitimate purpose…forcibly touches the sexual or other intimate parts of another person for the purpose of degrading or abusing such person or for the purpose of gratifying the actor’s sexual desire….” See Penal Code 130.52
Compensation Survivors May Receive
Survivors who file claim and successfully sue institutions or individuals for sexual assault or abuse are entitled to receive monetary damages and compensation. The amount of such compensation depends upon a variety of factors, including the specific acts involved, the harm, including psychological harm, to the victim and the strength of the evidence that an assault occurred.
Contacting an Experienced NYC Attorney
The sexual abuse attorneys at the law offices of Peters Brovner LLP focus on holding City, State and private institutions accountable for actions that result in significant harm and personal injury, including failure to protect individuals from sexual abuse. If you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual abuse or assault and you need legal advice, please reach out to the lawyers at Peters Brovner LLP for a free initial consultation.