The Adult Survivors Act proposed by the state Legislature is flawed because the lookback window in the bill is the same as the Child Victims Act except the age difference is over age 18 instead of under age 18 for who can file a case in civil court.
I did a study of cases filed in New York state under the Child Victims Act. The victims who filed were mostly white and were abused by a rich abuser or had an institution involved.
Very few brown or minorities victims filed. This is despite 90% of abuse that occurs in New York state does not involve an institution or a rich abuser. No lawyers would take these victims cases. If you look at rural and inner city cases very few cases were filed and all were church or institution involved. The rural and inner city is where the majority of abuse takes place.
The Child Victims Act court process has moved slow, after over two years there has been little movement. Adding more cases now will overburden an already stressful experience for victims.
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We cannot pass laws in New York state that leave thousands of victims of sexual assault out. The state Legislature should have a legislative hearing and consider my suggestions of a victim’s compensation fund, mandatory pro bono work by lawyers and percentage of lawyers winnings going into a fund. Of course helping adult victims is necessary, but not by passing a flawed Adult Survivors Act creating another new class of heartbroken and revictimized victims.
Gary A. Greenberg
Gary A. Greenberg is the founder of Fighting for Children PAC-ProtectNYKids Inc.