BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The New York State Senate rejected an effort to help victims of child sex abuse. Senate Democrats wanted to make it easier for adults who were sexually abused as children to bring lawsuits. They wanted to force a vote by attaching their bill to other legislation, but the senate failed to pass it.
Currently, in New York, adults who were abused as children have until their 23rd birthday to press charges against their predator. Lawmakers pushed a bill that would eliminate the time frames that criminal and civil cases can be brought in child sex abuse cases.
Children coming forth and saying something happened takes a great deal of courage and often takes a long time for kids to speak up and say something. So for them to have that time to realize something happened, they could well be approaching or passed their 23rd birthday and then they’re immobilized, they’re not able to do anything,” said Linda McCartan, Child and Family Services.
Senate Republicans rejected the bill and blocked the democrats from voting on the Child Victims Act. Child and Family Services told News 4, by not passing this bill, it sends a negative message to survivors.
“I think we’re sending a message that we’re trying to wash our hands of bigger issues related to child sex abuse. In order to be open minded about it, I think we have to be really pushing forward to allow victims the most opportunity to seek justice for themselves,” said McCartan.
The current law also reads that a victim must file a notice of intent to sue within 90 days of the incident when abused in a public institution. If the bill would have passed, it would have eliminated that requirement.