NEW YORK (WKBW) — New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the Adult Survivors Act Tuesday.
The governor's office said the act creates a one-year lookback window and empowers survivors of sexual offenses that occurred when they were over the age of 18 to sue their abusers. The lookback window begins six months from signing.
"Today, we take an important step in empowering survivors across New York to use their voices and hold their abusers accountable. The fight against sexual assault requires us to recognize the impact of trauma within our justice system. I am proud to sign this legislation, which is part of our collective responsibility to protect one another and create an environment that makes survivors feel safe. While our work is not done, eradicating sexual assault begins with our ability to bring the perpetrators of these heinous acts to justice and this legislation is a historic step forward."
"Healing from sexual violence is a journey, and survivors may not come forward for several years. A majority of survivors know their abusers and they may be reluctant to report incidents due to fear of retaliation or exposure of intimate details. They may also feel that they will be blamed, defamed, or will not be taken seriously. There is also a clear link between sexual assault and domestic violence as most survivors who are physically assaulted by an intimate partner also disclose experiencing sexual assault by that same partner. We thank Governor Hochul and members of the legislature for upholding New York's commitment to supporting survivors by expanding the statute of limitations and providing avenues of justice to so many across our state."
The governor's office said the Adult Survivors Act is similar to the Child Victims Act that New York passed in 2019 which created a one-year lookback window for survivors of childhood sexual abuse to file claims otherwise barred by the statute of limitations.