If you were sexually victimized as an adult, a newly enacted law in the state of New York may allow you to hold your abuser responsible for a limited time, please call us today for a free consultation.
WHAT NEW YORK’S ADULT SURVIVOR ACT Means for Victims of Sexual Abuse
In May 2022, New York governor Kathy Hochul signed the Adult Survivor Act into law. The law allows a one-year "look-back" window for adult survivors of sexual abuse. That means, starting November 2022 to November 2023, survivors can seek compensation in civil court against their abusers or the responsible institutions, no matter how much time has passed.
This landmark legislation comes on the heels of the 2019 Child Victim Act, a law that temporarily suspended New York's statute of limitation for victims of childhood sexual abuse. Thanks to the Child Victim Act, thousands of New Yorkers previously barred from seeking legal reparations because of the statute of limitations will have a chance to tell their stories in court.
If you lived in New York State and were a victim of adult sexual abuse, you may have the right to seek compensation for the trauma you've endured.
Victims of adult sexual abuse deserve justice. Read on to see if a lawsuit is right for you.
HOW DOES STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS Affect Sexual Abuse Survivors?
The concept of a statute of limitations has a long history dating back to ancient Greece. Today, statute of limitations refers to laws that limit the time frame for an attorney to pursue legal proceedings against a defendant of an alleged crime. These statutes of limitations apply to criminal and civil cases, with the deadline to file a lawsuit or criminal charges varying depending on the offense.
Memory and evidence fade as time passes, interfering with a fair trial. Therefore, the statute of limitations helps the justice system protect the integrity of court proceedings. However, survivors of sexual abuse often feel re-victimized by a justice system that safeguards an alleged offender's rights.
As researchers learn more about the psychology of trauma after sexual abuse, it's clear why it may take years, even decades, before a survivor of sexual assault steps forward.
Sexual abuse leaves survivors with lifelong trauma. The devastation in the wake of sexual trauma takes years of therapy and processing to heal. There's a myth that people who truly experience sexual abuse come forward right away and make a report. However, victims report that they didn't come forward for many reasons, including guilt, embarrassment, depression, and fear of retribution.
The adverse effects of sexual abuse reverberate long after the perpetrator's offense. In some cases, victims report PTSD, substance abuse, and suicidal thought or attempts.
For many victims of sexual abuse, the reminders of the past trauma are never far. A recent study looked at how survivors of sexual assault navigated a post #metoo internet. Researchers found that survivors of sexual assault "described ... negative changes to their mental health and relationships in the face of these exposures [and] certain types of content (e.g., rape culture narratives) ... were particularly distressing to them." 1
By acknowledging the impact of sexual abuse on victims and the time it takes adult survivors to come forward, New York's Adult Survivor Act empowers victims by giving them a chance to tell their stories in court.
WHAT THE ADULT SURVIVOR ACT Means for Institutions Who Protected Abusers
Not only does the Adult Survivor Act allow survivors to pursue claims against their abusers, but it also provides an opportunity for victims to seek damages against any institution that may have protected or been responsible for those abusers.
Holding institutions accountable for their role in abuse is just as important in an age where professional sexual misconduct and underreporting in medical professions are rampant.
The relationship between patients and healthcare professionals, including physicians, OBGYNs, urologists, dentists, chiropractors, and dermatologists, depends on trust. As patients, we entrust our providers to serve and protect our health and bodies. Because of the disparity of power, elevated status of medical providers, and the emotional vulnerability of patients, there is no such thing as a consensual relationship between medical professionals and patients.
Despite clear legal standards, studies analyzing relationships between healthcare professionals and patients found a high prevalence of professional sexual misconduct in the workplace. The study also highlighted a US Federation of State Medical Boards survey that "indicated that 18% of Americans have had an interaction with a physician who they believe was acting unethically, unprofessionally, or providing substandard care." 2
Researchers who continue to examine the effects of sexual misconduct in the medical field found that patients report experiencing the same long-term effects as other sexual assault survivors:
drug and alcohol abuse
post-traumatic stress symptoms
Add the power and status dynamic on top of that, and it's no surprise that the number of patients who report sexual assault is lower than even the general population. According to one study, less than 1 in 10 victims who experience sexual assault by a healthcare professional report it. 3
Unfortunately, it's no secret that the healthcare industry's top priority is to protect the business. Instead of alerting the police to possible misconduct, institutions prefer to handle sexual misconduct quietly, usually involving a resignation and passing the offender on to the next hospital, putting more vulnerable people at risk.
The trust between doctor and patient is paramount to the American healthcare system. The Adult Survivor Act allows victims to hold medical providers and institutions accountable for taking advantage of that trust.
AVA LAW GROUP Advocates for Victims of Sexual Abuse
AVA Law Group has a proven history of advocating for victims of sexual abuse and fighting against institutions that protect abusers. That activism includes a successful lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America on behalf of victims across the United States.
Representing the people against the powerful is what we do.
If you or a loved one were over the age of 18 when sexually victimized by an OBGYN, urologist, dentist, chiropractor, dermatologist, or any other medical professional, the Adult Survivor Act could provide a path to justice and may entitle you to compensation.
The Adult Survivor Act is temporary, and time is running out.
While we understand that a lawsuit will not reverse the damage caused to you and your family, financial restitution will go a long way to give you access to the care you need to start healing.
You deserve justice for the trauma you endured, and we promise to fight aggressively to protect your rights. Talk to an AVA legal expert today and start your path toward healing today.
We provide a team of attorney, paralegals, and case managers to clients at no upfront cost.
AVA Law Group eliminates the confusion of filing a claim by working on your claim and, if necessary, connecting you with one our many partner firms that fits your needs and will get you the best results.
We’re available 24/7 to provide you with the information you need about case qualification.
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