Assemblywoman Buttenschon: Child Victims Act Clears Path to Justice for Survivors

Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon (D-Utica) announced she helped pass the Child Victims Act, which allows more victims of childhood sexual abuse the opportunity to seek justice against their abusers (A.2683).

“There is nothing more sickening than robbing a child of their innocence,” Buttenschon said. “These brave survivors deserve their day in court, and this legislation makes sure they get it if and when they’re ready to tell their stories.”

The legislation extends the statute of limitations for criminal cases allowing them to be commenced until the victim’s 28th birthday for felonies and their 23rd birthday for misdemeanors. The bill also pushes back the statute of limitations to permit civil actions to be brought until a victim turns 55 and creates a one-year window for adult survivors to pursue civil cases that had expired under the previous statute of limitations. The measure also prioritizes cases revived under the one-year window by giving them a trial preference so that the healing process isn’t impeded any more than it’s already been, Buttenschon noted.

Each year, at least 63,000 children are sexually abused, with many other instances going unreported.[1] The Child Victims Act also aims to make the legal process less traumatizing for survivors by requiring judges to undergo additional training for cases involving childhood sexual abuse.

“Empowering victims of abuse to come forward is the least we can do to support them in this brave fight,” Buttenschon said. “While we can’t undo the past – as much as we all wish we could – this legislation lets them know we believe them and we’re fighting for them.”