The United States of America is currently experiencing a sexual abuse scandal. The #MeToo movement has exposed the prevalence of such abuses, while also revealing that it can have lasting effects on victims in their lives. This led to several states trying to establish legal ways for survivors and offenders to come together in order to heal from such crimes. However, this approach is not without its problems: does criminal justice reform truly allow victims an opportunity for healing?
The “homeowner assistance fund 2021 application” is a website that provides information on how to apply for the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, & New York Sexual Abuse Victims.
Sexual Assault Laws in New York Have Been Expanded
In New York, victims of sexual assault had to wait until they were 23 years old to bring criminal or civil complaints. Prosecutors may now pursue criminal charges against victims until they reach the age of 28, and victims can file civil claims until they reach the age of 55, according to the New York Child Victims Act, which was signed into law in February 2019.
According to The New York Times, insurance companies, private schools, and religious groups have been fighting the new legislation for years. These groups said that the accusations of abuse may force them to close their doors.
With control of the New York state legislature in new hands, however, the Child Victims Act was enacted with bipartisan support and signed into law.
According to The New York Times, child sexual abuse claims in New York were among of the most restricted in the country prior to the adoption of the legislation, with an especially tight deadline for survivors. Survivors in several other jurisdictions have decades, if not decades, to file claims against their abusers.
The New York legislation includes a “look back” clause in addition to increasing survivors’ capacity to pursue civil and criminal claims against their abusers. The one-year “look back” period enables survivors to resurrect previous claims one year after the law’s enactment.
“It’s time to go to work. “A new type of labor begins today,” a proponent told The New York Times. “A one-year window is a relatively small time span.” There are a lot of individuals that need to know this information.”
Survivors were given more than a year to live. Indeed, owing to the COVID-19 epidemic, former Governor Andrew M. Cuomo significantly prolonged the look-back period, setting a deadline of Aug. 14, 2021, which has already passed.
The revised child abuse rules, according to advocates, have been a long time coming.
“It provides meaning and purpose to what I and my fellow survivors have gone through,” said one victim who worked for years in New York to get the legislation passed. The victim, who grew up on Long Island, told the New York Times that as a youngster, he was sexually assaulted by a member of his high school faculty. He didn’t write a letter to the school until he was 62 years old, informing them of the abuse.
Those who have been sexually abused as children typically need years, if not decades, to come to grips with their traumas. Unfortunately, trustworthy people in positions of power are often involved in these attacks on the most vulnerable. Organizations have sometimes been accused of protecting the abuser rather than listening to the victims of sexual assault.
These new legislation may assist individuals who have remained quiet about sexual abuse they experienced as a kid in holding their perpetrators and any institutions involved responsible.
According to NBC News, one of the bill’s sponsors stated, “Today, by passing the Child Victims Act, we are finally telling the survivors: The State of New York and the entire power of its law is behind you, and you will not be turned away.”
Those who were sexually abused as children may be entitled to sue their perpetrators, as well as any organizations or institutions that may have protected the offender.
Sexual Assault Laws in New Jersey
New Jersey has also changed its sexual assault laws to make it easier for survivors, especially survivors of Catholic clergy abuse, to seek justice.
A new legislation in New Jersey takes effect on Dec. 1, 2019, giving survivors a two-year opportunity to bring civil claims relating to abuse that occurred years or even decades ago, claims that were previously prohibited by the statute of limitations.
In addition, the new legislation makes the following permanent modifications to the statute of limitations:
- Individuals and institutions that harm children will have until the age of 55 to bring lawsuits against them.
- Adult victims have seven years from the time they discover the abuse is causing emotional or mental health issues to seek help.
- Victims who have been unable to bring a case due to the prior statute of limitations will be given an extra two years to do so.
Victims of clerical abuse in New Jersey also had the option of filing a claim with the New Jersey Catholic Church Compensation Fund, which was closed in early 2020.
Sexual Assault Laws in Pennsylvania
According to AP News, Gov. Tom Wolf signed a central bill in November 2019 that allows “future victims of child sex abuse more time to file lawsuits and ends time limits for police to file criminal charges,” allowing “future victims of child sex abuse more time to file lawsuits and ending time limits for police to file criminal charges.”
Since a 2018 grand jury investigation revealed over 1,000 instances of child sexual abuse by Pennsylvania Roman Catholic priests over the period of many decades, this reform has been in the works.
According to RAINN, Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations states that “prosecution against the perpetrator of this crime must commence within 12 years after the commission of the offense; or prosecution against the perpetrator of this crime must commence within 12 years after the commission of the offense; or prosecution against the perpetrator of this crime must commence within 12 years after the commission of the offense; or prosecution against the perpetrator of this If the crime was committed against a minor under the age of 18, prosecution must begin no later than the end of the statute of limitations after the minor reaches the age of 18 or the day the minor reaches the age of 50.”
The “homeowners assistance fund qualifications” is a program in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York that provides financial assistance to victims of sexual abuse.
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