An Assembly resolution introduced by Assemblywoman Margaret Markey (D-Maspeth) declares the month of May 2008 as “Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Month in New York.” Sixty other members of the Assembly joined Markey in sponsoring the designation.
Assemblywoman Markey said, “We want to call attention to the troubling research that shows that one in five children in America are victims of sexual abuse, the greatest majority of them by family or family acquaintances or other people they trust and respect.”
The declaration, which has gone to Governor David Paterson, will also put a spotlight on Assemblywoman Markey’s legislation (A.4560-B, The Child Victims’ Act of NY) to provide greater justice for victims of childhood sex abuse.
A portion of the resolution reads, "By calling attention to the serious and significant problem of child sexual abuse, the observation of Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Month exemplifies a worthy commitment to the children of New York State, encourages improvement in the quality and availability of pertinent programs, laws and services, and provides an opportunity to increase awareness about all aspects of this important matter.”
Under current law, the criminal statue of limitations in child sexual abuse cases when the crime is not reported to law enforcement is not applied until the victim reaches age 18. The Markey bill would extend the threshold age to 23, adding five years to the statute, with similar provisions for civil actions. Her bill also provides for a one-time one year window for victims of any age to seek civil damages in past instances of child sexual abuse.
“Sex crimes, particularly those committed against children, are among the most heinous and deeply disturbing in our society. They leave life-long scars and have multiple victims,” said Assemblywoman Markey. “As the general public becomes more and more aware of the terrible human tragedy at the root of this issue, it is important for victims of sexual assault to have the opportunity to get justice for the wrongs done against them. This legislation gives abuse victims their day in court.”
The Child Victims’ Act of New York, which already received Assembly approval in 2005, 2006 and 2007, will be presented for a new Assembly vote in the coming weeks. A companion bill in the State Senate is sponsored by Senator Stephen Saland (41st District, Poughkeepsie).
Assemblywoman Markey added, “At present, New York State law enables predators to avoid the consequences of their crimes. It permits abusers to continue their predatory actions and assault new victims. We have a responsibility to past and future generations of children to ensure that predators are identified, stopped and punished. This legislation helps do that more effectively.”