In the latest development in the proposed Child Victims Act in New York, which would eliminate the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse allegations, Senator Brad Hoylman (D) filed a motion last week to force the Senate Codes Committee to consider the bill much sooner than anticipated.
“Child sexual abuse survivors deserve their day in court. Plus, it’s important that we shine a light on accused abusers, some of whom still have direct contact with kids,” the senator said in a statement. “Forcing a committee vote on this bill will let New Yorkers know where their Senators stand on this important issue of public safety and justice.”
One of the original supporters of the bill, New York State Assembly Member Margaret M. Markey even went so far as to as the Catholic Pope to help support the bill in April 2015. April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and Markey used this time to promote the Child VIctims Act. She called on Governor Andrew Cuomo in New York State to continue state-wide awareness about child abuse, as New York has one of the least victim-friendly laws regulating sexual abuse crimes against children. In New York, victims must bring charges against their alleges abusers within 5 years of their 18th birthday.
The goal of the Child Victims Act is a bill that would extend the statute of limitations on sexual abuse against children. Teh bill would also allow a one-year window for previous sexual absue victims to come forward and charge their past abusers. Nearly one-third of all members of the State Assembly have joined in support of the bill. On April 22, Markey and dozens of other lobbyists descended on New York lawmakers in Albany, demanding the lawmakers support the bill.
In addition to Congress women and men, and Senator Holyman, numerous child welfare groups also support the bill, including the Catholic Coalition of Conscience. However, not all Catholic leaders in the state support the bill. In April 2015, Markey sent a letter to Pope Francis asking him for support of the bill and to meet some past victims of child sexual abuse in September. Pop Francis has not responded to the letter as of May, 2015.
In honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month, Markey created an online petition for the support of the Child Victims Act. “There is no limit on what is a lifetime of suffering and anguish for so many victims of child sexual abuse,” Markey said in a statement. “Nor should there be any limit on holding accountable those institutions and organizations that have deliberately protected and hidden perpetrators.”
New York residents in support of the bill can sign the petition at SafeHorizon.org. The supporters of the bill hope that by showing how many New York residents want the Child Victims Act signed to law, it will get passed much sooner. With support from New York residents, numerous members of congress, and the support of Senator Holyman, the Child Victims Act may soon become law.