on Childhood Sexual Abuse
Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D – Mid-Hudson) announced she attended a roundtable on May 22 at the Legislative Office Building in Albany to discuss state and national efforts to extend the statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse.
The roundtable, co-sponsored by Albany Law School and Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law’s Cardozo Advocates for Kids initiative, featured law professors, attorneys, reporters and elected officials. The panel centered its discussion on extending the statute of limitations for child sex abuse crimes, but it also highlighted legislative initiatives that are either underway or have been successful in other states.
“A lot of helpful information was shared at the roundtable,” Assemblymember Barrett said. "The case for increasing the statute of limitations is strong. The effects of child abuse often go on into adulthood causing irreparable damage and costing society $104 billion annually in direct and indirect costs.”
Assemblymember Barrett is a co-sponsor of legislation in the Assembly that would extend the statute of limitations in criminal and civil actions for certain sex offenses committed against a child under 18 years old (A.5488).
“This legislation will help to fight child sex abuse effectively by allowing young victims more time to come forward and has been welcomed by the legal community,” Barrett said. “Other states have passed legislation that have either increased statute of limitations far beyond what we have in New York or have abolished them all together."
Under the legislation, the statute of limitations for incest in the first, second and third degree or use of a child under 18 years old in a sexual performance would extend until that child turned 23 years old. Civil claims for physical, psychological or other injuries or conditions suffered as a result of sexual abuse of a child under 18 would be allowed to begin five years after the child reaches 23 years old.
“Coping with a sex crime, especially for a child, can leave lifelong scars and be very difficult to overcome,” Assemblymember Barrett said. “And unfortunately, all too often, child abusers get away with their crimes simply because time has run out. By giving victims of sexual abuse more time we are giving them back their voices and being sure their voices are heard.”