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New York’s New Child Victims Act Expands Opportunity for Filing Abuse Claims and The Path for Victims’ Justice

This week, a one-year “revival” period of statute of limitations began for individuals who assert civil claims of child abuse to file claims against institutions and individuals pursuant to New York’s Child Victims Act, even if those claims had already expired and/or were dismissed because they were filed late. The premise behind the Child Victims Act is that children are often prevented from disclosing abuse due to the social, psychological and emotional trauma they experience.

Additionally, the  Child Victims Act, also expands the statute of limitations for bringing criminal claims against alleged perpetrators of child sexual abuse, and  permits alleged victims of these crimes to file civil lawsuits up until they reach age 55. This aspect of the legislation will have a significant impact on the volume of criminal cases, and even more so civil lawsuits, 385 of which were filed in the first hours of the revival periodwith hundreds more geared up for filing in the upcoming weeks and months. Indeed, the New York State court system has set aside 45 judges specifically to handle the expected crush of cases.

Institutional Changes Following the New Child Victim’s Act

Religious, educational and other institutions that are committed to providing a safe environment for children should be thinking about how they can implement safeguards against child abuse within their institutions. An important step is keeping internal lines of communication with staff and families open, as well as educating staff and leadership as to their reporting obligations under New York law and on how to provide appropriate support if child abuse is suspected.

The Child Victims Act joins the Sex Harassment Bill also signed into law by Gov. Cuomo as significant changes by New York Legislators involving sexual abuse and harassment in New York State.

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About this Author

Melissa Jampol, Epstein Becker Law Firm, Health Care Attorney
Member

Melissa Jampol is a Member of the Firm in the Health Care and Life Sciences and Litigation practices, in the New York office of Epstein Becker Green. A former federal and state prosecutor, Ms. Jampol represents health care organizations, and their officers and directors, in a variety of enforcement matters at both the state and federal levels.

During her tenure as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, Ms. Jampol served in the Health Care and Government Fraud, Violent Crime, and...

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Yael Spiewak, Epstein Becker, claims of discrimination lawyer, constructive discharge attorney
Associate

YAEL SPIEWAK is an Associate in the Litigation and Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practices, in the firm's Newark office.

Ms. Spiewak:

  • Represents businesses in various sectors in diverse and complex commercial litigation matters

  • Represents clients in employment-related litigation on a broad array of matters, including claims of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and constructive discharge, concerning state and federal employment statutes

Prior to joining Epstein Becker Green, Ms. Spiewak was an attorney in the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office in New Brunswick, New Jersey, where she represented the State of New Jersey in various appellate matters. During law school, Ms. Spiewak served as a judicial intern for the Honorable Martin Shulman of the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Term, First Department, in Manhattan; as an intern at the City of Newark Law Department in Newark; and then as a legal extern at the New York State Attorney General’s Office in Manhattan.

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