What exactly IS the Child Victims Act?

We’re glad you asked! 

Here at Bivona, we’ve talked about how we think it’s an important bill because it extends the statute of limitations to a victim’s 50th birthday – which is a HUGE jump from the current cut-off of a victim’s 23rd  birthday. But as monumental as that is, there’s more to it than that. 

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Under current law, child sexual abuse offenses cannot be prosecuted once 5 years have passed from the victim’s 18th birthday. And civil lawsuits for this conduct have to be brought within 3 years of the victim’s 18th birthday. This law has a restrictive effect on child sexual abuse survivors because most young victims aren’t able to process their assault and clearly and coherently bring about charges for it within 5 years of their 18th birthday.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, who will be speaking about the Child Victims Act as part of his State of the State Address this afternoon at 2 p.m. has vowed to pass the act within the first 100 days of the current legislative session as part of his Justice Agenda. 

If he’s successful, there will be some sweeping changes in how child sexual abuse cases are handled in New York State. Here’s a full breakdown of how current legislation will change if the Child Victims Act is passed:

  • As stated, the legislation allows victims of sexual crimes against minors to bring forth a civil lawsuit any time before they turn 50 years old. This increases the current statute of limitations by 27 years.

  • By raising the statute of limitations, it also increases the amount of time the perpetrators of these crimes may be held criminally accountable for their actions.

  • The law includes a one-year revival period for previously time-barred civil actions alleging sexual offense against a minor – opening the door for survivors who have been restricted from bringing official actions against their abuses, to finally have their day in court.

  • This legislation also eliminates the need to file a notice of claim for sexual offenses committed against a minor. Currently, notice of claim provisions are specific and restrictive, and in many cases the complexity of the provisions may keep survivors from commencing legal action against abusers.

  • Judicial training on crimes involving the sexual abuse of minors will become mandatory.

  • The Office of Court Administration will be allowed to put into effect rules and regulations for timely recourse for cases brought up during the revival period.

 

The Child Victims Act is a huge win for sexual abuse survivors, and will hopefully help many adult survivors of child abuse find the closure they need after abuse – closure that has been long-denied due to the Senate stalemate.

To learn more about Cuomo’s plans for New York State in 2019, and learn more about his Justice Agenda, catch a live stream of Cuomo’s State of the State Address at 2 p.m.

https://www.facebook.com/GovernorAndrewCuomo/

 

#2019JusticeAgenda

 

The Child Victims Act will help survivors heal

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“The Child Victims Act supports victims on their own terms, and in doing so, offers real hope for Healing.” — Bivona Child Advocacy Center’s Executive Director, Deb Rosen

Today at 2 pm, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo will give his 2019 State of the State Address, and his executive budget for the next year — which includes the Child Victims Act. Current laws only allow victims to seek a case against their abuser until their 23 birthday. Under the Child Victims Act, that statute of limitations is extended to the victim’s 50th birthday.

Especially encouraging for us here at Bivona, is the added announcement that the Child Victims Act is part of Cuomo’s Justice Agenda, and he vows to enact it in the first 100 days of the new legislative session, which officially began on January 9.

Over her tenure at Bivona, our Executive Director, Deb Rosen, has spoken openly, and often on the issue and the impact its passage will have on victims of child sexual abuse.

“It is simply unreasonable to expect that a person who has been victimized during their most vulnerable years would be able to collect themselves within an artificial period of time to take action against their perpetrator. It flies in the face of what we know about the experience of sexual abuse, and it flies in the face of victims’ rights.”

The Bill has had consistent bipartisan support in the State Assembly, passing by a wide margin when introduced. But it has stalled in the Senate. This past September, Republican Senator, Rich Funke reached across the divide and asked others to join him. In an editorial printed in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle on September 28, Funke called for unity in working towards justice.

“The Child Victims Act has languished in the New York State Senate for far too long … it is long past time to sit down at the table, hammer out a final version of the bill and pass it in the Senate. Each day, I tell my staff to go out and do the right thing. Providing access to justice for survivors of childhood sexual abuse is the right thing to do.”

To learn more about Cuomo’s plans for New York State in 2019, and learn more about his Justice Agenda, catch a live stream of Cuomo’s State of the State Address at 2 p.m.
https://www.facebook.com/GovernorAndrewCuomo/

#2019JusticeAgenda

Rochling — 14 years of supporting Bivona

Today we had the honor of breaking bread with a local company that has supported Bivona for 14 years. Six of Rochling’s Rochester-based employees joined us for lunch to talk a bit about what we do here to support child victims of abuse and their families, as well as tell us why they provide such amazing support to us each year.

Rochling’s generous employee donations are matched each year by the company, and this year that translated to two, $4,000 checks — for a grand total of $8,000.

We couldn’t do the work we do here without the help and support we get every day from this community. Thank you for your continued friendship and partnership, Rochling!

Trust, support and commitment

Trust, support and commitment

Bivona's partnership with the Monroe County District Attorney's Office is an important component of our comprehensive approach to helping provide justice for children who have endured the trauma of abuse. However, our partnership goes beyond this focus and is an integral piece to ensuring trust and providing opportunities for healing, both for the children we help and for our Team. Recently, Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley spoke to us about the role of the Monroe County District Attorney's Office at Bivona. 

Bivona Corporate Golf Challenge tees off to a great start in 2018!

Bivona Corporate Golf Challenge tees off to a great start in 2018!

The Bivona Corporate Golf Challenge consisted of 17 teams in a competition for the title of Bivona Corporate Golf Challenge Champion. Campus Construction Management Group named the Champion of the inaugural Bivona Corporate Golf Challenge and their name will be added to a commemorative plaque at our 1 Mt Hope Avenue facility.

Community Spotlight on Staci Whitney, Senior Forensic Interviewer at Bivona

Community Spotlight on Staci Whitney, Senior Forensic Interviewer at Bivona

Education is a key component to the work we do at Bivona. In addition to her day-to-day job helping children in our community, our Senior Forensic Interviewer Staci Whitney, LMSW, works with Scott Modell to bring information about child abuse prevention and intervention specifically related to children with intellectual and developmental disabilities to organizations and advocacy centers across the country.