November 7, 2018
Advocates and Survivors React to the New York Senate Shift to Democrat Control and the Brighter Chances for the Child Victims Act
The fight for child victims of sexual abuse in New York has been raging for nearly fifteen years and only incremental progress has been made until now. Justice for victims of child sex abuse should be bipartisan; unfortunately this has not been the case historically. Finally, with the Democrats winning control of the NY senate, the path lies open for the Child Victim’s Act (“CVA”).
New York currently ranks as one of the WORST states in the country when it comes to justice for victims. The current landscape does not allow victims of child sexual abuse to sue predators after they turn twenty-three. This is unacceptable when the average age of disclosure for these victims is 52. CHILD USAdvocacy and New Yorkers Against Hidden Predators are not seeking radical change—simply that the state catch up to the rest of the country. The passage of the CVA will do just that.
Child sex abuse and its cover up is a universal problem affecting all New Yorkers in some way. Relentless lobbying by Catholic Bishops and the insurance agencies has forced victims to wait for justice for over a decade.
“I am thrilled that the New York Senate will be led by a bold and fearless leader. Senator Stewart-Cousins is a true leader with enormous integrity and an eye on justice,” said survivor and child advocate, Kathryn Robb. “Finally, victims of child sexual abuse in New York will have justice and an opportunity to heal, and the children of New York will no longer be in harm’s way by institutions that continue to cover-up their outrageous wrongs.”
Award-winning journalist and survivor, Steve Jimenez commented,
“Finally we have a fierce, compassionate leader of the New York State Senate who will fight for justice on behalf of child sex abuse victims and stop shielding the institutions that have given safe harbor to predators. For the first time in well over a decade, New Yorkers Against Hidden Predators — representing advocates, survivors, and their families — can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Our day of justice has been a long time coming — and for many of us, it’s a day that can’t come soon enough. Good riddance to Senate control by John Flanagan, who as Senate Majority Leader, along with his Republican cronies, put predators before children.”
“It has been a very long road to get to this point,” commented University of Pennsylvania Professor and Founder of CHILD USA and CHILD USAdvocacy, Marci Hamilton. “Justice for the victims of child sex abuse should be a nonpartisan issue. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been in New York, where the lobbyists for the insurance industry and the Catholic bishops have held sway over Republican Senators. Finally, with Democratic control in the state legislature, survivors should be able to achieve the justice they deserve through the Child Victims Act and the revival of expired civil statutes of limitations. It is time for New York to protect children rather than predators and the institutions that enable them. The failure to pass the CVA to date has aided and abetted the bishops’ cover up of child sex abuse in the state. New York victims of childhood sexual abuse have suffered enough and deserve the justice that only the CVA can provide.”
“Childhood victims of sexual abuse in New York State, who have fought long and hard for justice, may finally have the courthouse doors open to them to hold their abusers accountable,” remarked Robert Hoatson, Co-Founder & President of Road to Recovery, Inc.
Upon learning the news, advocate and survivor, Connie Altamirano said that when she learned the control of the Senate would switch to those in support of the victims, “I had an emotional breakdown and cried and thanked everyone for all the work. The time is now and I already have appointments for January. It has been a collaborative effort – I pray that PA and NY can be done in conjunction. There’s no time like the present. I think everyone should contact the Senators; we need to move and make sure these Democrats deliver.”
According to Art McGrath, President, Call to Action Metro NY, “Access to justice is at hand in NYS for the survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Civic society has made that possible despite the vigorous opposition of the New York State Catholic Bishops.”
“The passage of the CVA should be the first order of business in the Senate. The children of New York State have waited long enough for protection from sexual predators and survivors have waited long enough for justice,” said survivor Beth McCabe.
“Schools and other institutions in New York State have made child sexual abuse far worse in NY because current law rewards them for covering it up and obstructing timely reporting,” observed Peter Brooks of the Horace Mann Action Coalition Interschool Network Against Abuse. “The Senate can now provide survivors with a window for access to justice by enacting the Child Victims Act, the practical solution to limit hidden abuse and provide accountability.”
About CHILD USAdvocacy
CHILD USAdvocacy is a 501(c)(4) advocacy organization affiliated with CHILD USA. Drawing on the combined expertise of the nation’s leading child advocates, CHILD USAdvocacy is committed to protecting children’s civil liberties and keeping children safe from abuse. For more information, email email@example.com.
About New Yorkers Against Hidden Predators
New Yorkers Against Hidden Predators (“NYAHP”) is committed to passing the Child Victims Act in New York and holding legislators accountable for failure to act. It is a founding member of United to Pass the Child Victims Act (“UPCVA”) – an umbrella coalition of survivors and advocates fighting to see the bill become law. NYAHP is seeking to reform New York State’s antiquated child sexual abuse laws and bring to justice the hidden sexual predators that live in our communities today. www.stophiddenpredators.org