Child Victims Act Lawyer
If you are a survivor of child sexual abuse, you are not alone. Many survivors of child sexual abuse struggle to share their stories. They did not have a voice as children, and they may not know how to talk about their experiences as adults. Still, that abuse from long ago resonates in their everyday lives. Many survivors of child sexual abuse experience PTSD, depression, drug addiction, and other devastating conditions that haunt them for years.
It is important to know that even if you could not speak out at the time, you can speak out now. Several states have passed Child Victims Act legislation that allows survivors to demand justice even if the abuse happened many years ago. If you suffered childhood sexual abuse at the hands of someone you trusted, such as a clergy member or a Boy Scouts leader, you may be entitled to compensation through the Child Victims Act.
Please contact the Marcowitz Law Firm to talk to a compassionate Child Victims Act lawyer about your case. We can answer your questions and explain your options in a free and confidential consultation. Our team is sensitive to your needs and your concerns. We offer these consultations with no obligation to you, and we will move at your pace when you decide you are ready to hold your abuser accountable.
What Is a Child Victims Act?
Many states have recently passed versions of a Child Victims Act. In general, these laws recognize the need of child abuse survivors to have more time to come forward with their stories. They allow survivors a newly extended period to take legal action, in contrast with extremely restrictive past statutes. Such reformative acts have passed in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Washington, and Illinois, among other states.
In the past, many of these states offered a very limited time period for survivors to press criminal charges or file a civil lawsuit against their childhood abusers. These time limits barred survivors of child sex abuse from pursuing justice after they reached a certain age, often in early adulthood. However, it can take survivors years to come to terms with their abuse and be ready to move forward with legal action. The former restrictions left many survivors unable to seek justice on their own terms.
Now, with the new legislation, many states have extended the statute of limitations – that is, how long a plaintiff has to bring a case – for survivors of child sex abuse. States have enacted progressive changes to the statute of limitations for criminal child abuse charges, civil child abuse lawsuits, or both. Some states, such as Vermont, have even eliminated the statute of limitations for these cases entirely, thus allowing survivors to come forward at any point in life.
Compensation Through a Child Victims Act Settlement
Survivors who endured abuse as a child often carry trauma well into adulthood. In some cases, it can cost survivors joy, trust in relationships, a sense of safety, the ability to pursue a career, and much more. For many survivors, seeing their abusers held accountable for the harm they caused can provide some measure of justice and help them move forward.
Through a Child Victims Act settlement, you may be eligible for the following forms of compensation:
- Lost wages: If you have struggled to work or experienced limited working capacity as a result of your abuse, you may receive compensation for past and future wages you could otherwise have earned.
- Medical bills: You may be entitled to compensation for any past, present, or future medical expenses that have resulted from your abuse. This may include coverage for rehabilitation, drug abuse treatment, professional counseling, depression medications, and other expenses.
- Pain and suffering damages: Compensation for pain and suffering takes into account the mental anguish you may have suffered due to your abuse. This type of compensation is calculated subjectively and intends to account for the harm done to your general quality and enjoyment of life.
In some cases, survivors are also awarded punitive damages, which are meant to punish an institution or defendant.
How Long Do You Have to File a Claim?
For survivors of child sexual abuse, it can take many years to be ready to file a claim against an abuser. Oftentimes, a survivor won’t even recognize the experience as abuse until adulthood. After reaching such recognition, it takes tremendous courage for a survivor to come forward. According to The Atlantic, the median age at which child abuse survivors share allegations is 52 years old.
Child Victims Acts in many states have recognized this and have responded proactively. Many of these laws have extended or even eliminated the statute of limitations for civil child abuse cases, thereby creating a longer timeframe for survivors to file claims against their abusers.
The exact length of time that a survivor has to file a legal claim varies according to each state’s Child Victims Act. In New York state, for example, a survivor of child sex abuse now has until the age of 55 to bring a civil suit against a perpetrator. (The previous age limit for this type of civil suit was 23.) Likewise, in Pennsylvania, the age limit for child sex abuse survivors to file civil suits has risen from 30 to 55.
In some states, the Child Victims Act has also created a limited “look-back” period for survivors to file a civil suit, regardless of when the abuse occurred. For instance, in New York state, the “look-back” period is set to last until August 14, 2021. During this window of time, a survivor who would normally fall outside of the statute of limitations could bring a civil case against an abuser. The look-back period gives an opportunity for survivors who were previously time-barred from legal action to finally seek justice.
Understanding What Is Considered Child Sex Abuse
If you are considering filing a claim under your state’s Child Victims Act, it is important to understand what is considered child abuse. Generally speaking, the Child Victims Act covers any sex offense committed by an adult against someone who is younger than 18 years old. Because a child cannot legally consent to sexual contact with an adult, any form of sexual contact typically qualifies as a sex offense. In most states, including New York, the Child Victims Act also covers incest and child pornography.
If you are unsure of whether you have a case, a Child Victims Act lawyer can help. An attorney from our firm can explain the law in your state and discuss your legal rights for pursuing justice.
How Our Child Victims Act Lawyer Can Help You
If you are a survivor of child sex abuse, our experienced Child Victims Act attorney can help you demand justice for the pain you have endured. At the Marcowitz Law Firm, we will:
- Listen to your story with care and compassion, giving you the time to talk about what you’ve been through with no pressure to make a decision
- Help you understand the route to justice that you may have through the Child Victims Act
- Discuss how your experience has affected your life and lay out the forms of compensation for which you may be eligible
- Explain what to expect throughout the process so you feel in control of your case and what is happening
- Fight on your behalf to hold your abuser accountable and demand the maximum compensation you deserve
We understand how challenging it is to come forward as a survivor of child sexual abuse. We treat each of our cases with the utmost gravity and compassion. To schedule a free consultation with a skilled Child Victims Act attorney, contact us today.