All children deserve the right to feel safe and protected. The trauma of sexual abuse lasts long after the moment it happens and can take decades for many sexual abuse survivors to work through the painful and traumatic experiences. Child sexual abuse is sadly far too common. Oftentimes, childhood sexual assault can take place within institutions and organizations that are entrusted with protecting them. It is time to hold these school districts, institutions, businesses, or organizations accountable.
On August 15th, 2019, the New York Child Victims Act became effective, providing survivors of sexual abuse with an opportunity to file claims based on abuse that occurred years or even decades prior. What this new law means for sexual abuse victims is that it extends or eliminates the statute of limitations for future criminal sexual cases involving a child under the age of 18. It also allows victims to bring civil action until they turn 55, with a one-year window to file a civil claim, no matter how long ago it was.
The time to act is now. There are time limits to make a claim, that’s why it’s so important to act immediately. Survivors of child sexual abuse deserve to be heard and deserve justice. Justice demands accountability for the abuse and losses endured.
At Martin, Harding, and Mazzotti, we are devoted to protecting your rights and to ending the cycle of child sexual abuse. We are equipped to take on powerful organizations, school districts, institutions, and businesses responsible for allowing sexual abuse to occur. Act now. Don’t suffer in silence any longer.
Child Victims Act
The New York Child Victims Act (CVA) has extended the statute of limitations for a survivor of childhood sexual abuse further into adulthood.
Previously, individuals who were abused as a child had 1 to 5 years after their 18th birthday to bring a case against their attacker. Due to emotional and psychological reasons, many victims are unable to bring forward their case within that time leaving many guilty individuals and associated organizations protected from lawsuits no matter how strong the case against them may be. 
The new CVA legislation has extended the time victims are eligible to bring a case forward against their attackers from 5 years to over 35 years (until you turn 55 years old). 
How Common Is Childhood Sexual Abuse
Children who have been sexually abused often cannot externalize or understand the abuse they have endured for many years and emotional trauma later in life can make it difficult to bring incidence forward.
This makes it difficult to know exactly how prevalent abuses are across the U.S. Studies done by David Finkelhor, Director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center, found that nearly 20% of adult females and 10% of adult males recall a childhood sexual assault.
Experts also agree that incidence are far greater than what is reported to authorities. 
What Constitutes Sexual Abuse?
The New York Penal Law Article 130 defines a sexual offense as:
- sexual misconduct
- criminal sexual act
- forcible touching
- sexual abuse
- sexual conduct against a child
- female genital mutilation
- facilitating a sex offense with a controlled substance
- sex trafficking
- unlawful surveillance
- possessing or promoting an obscene sexual performance by a child
- facilitating a sexual performance by a child with a controlled substance or alcohol
- luring a child 
Psychological Issues Related to Childhood Sexual Abuse
The trauma experienced by a victim of childhood sexual abuse can have lasting psychological consequences for victims. The most common related issues are increased anxiety, depression, diminished self-esteem, dysfunctional relationships, eating disorders and PTSD.  These are long term damages that offenders are responsible for and victims should receive compensation.
If you or a loved one have been sexually abused as a child by a clergy member, teacher, scout leader, or any other institutional abuser in Western New York, you have a case.
You are not alone! The attorneys at Martin, Harding & Mazzoti are understanding and knowledgable about childhood sexual abuse law and we are dedicated to bringing justice to attackers and the institutions that allowed and protected abusers to harm you.
Visit our childhood sexual abuse website and let our attorneys help you receive justice.
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