The Child Victims Act enables the prosecution of all perpetrators who sexually abuse and victimize children, that includes (minors) below the age of eighteen (18) years. The framework drastically changes the way we hold perpetrators accountable for being involved in offenses against minors.
Who is a minor?
In law, a minor is someone under a certain age, usually the age of majority, which demarcates an underage individual from legal adulthood. Generally, the age to be considered as an adult is 18 years. However, the same may differ accordingly on different jurisdictions and existing law. For example, the smoking and drinking age in the United States is 21, and younger people below this age are sometimes called minors in the context of tobacco and alcohol law, even if they are at least 18. In India, under The Indian Majority Act 1875, states “Every person domiciled in India shall attain the age of majority on his completing the age of eighteen years and not before.” In addition to this, under Indian Contract law states that if there is a guardian present then the majority age is considered as 21 years old. In rare cases minors aged 16 or 17 who are charged with extremely heinous crimes could sometimes be treated as an adult. In United States as well, depending on each case-to-case basis the majority age will differ.
UNDERSTANDING THE ACT:
The greatest feature of the Act is its expansion of the limitation of statue. If one has gone through any kind of sexual abuse as a child, they can still file a case against the perpetrators – that means any adult perpetrators even if they have turned years old can no longer escape the law.
Criminal: “Codified in New York Penal Law 130, a Sex Crime felony, other than class “B” felonies, has a five-year statute of limitations that commences when a child turns 18. Now, a District Attorney can prosecute conduct that occurred five years after a complainant’s 23rd birthday. Similarly, the two-year misdemeanor period starts “ticking” on this later date as well.”
Civil: “Far more expansive in the civil context, before a man or woman maltreated as a child turns 55, he or she is no longer time barred from bringing an action stemming from decades old sex abuse. Moreover, where a claim was already time barred, an accuser can potentially have his or her proverbial “day in court” within a briefly provided one year “look back” period. Additionally, to make matters more efficient, a child victim’s counsel needs not file a notice of claim where certain public entities are the respondents, judges will receive new training for the proper handling of these lawsuits, and courts will be required to adhere to amended procedures in their review and management of these cases. Simply, whether law enforcement pursues a criminal investigation leading to an arrest and indictment or private counsel pursues your remedies in the civil arena, the opportunity to right past wrongs is greater than ever before.”
Who can file under The Child Victims Act? “If you are a survivor of sexual abuse, you may be able to bring a claim against your abuser or the entity responsible for facilitating the abuse if:
- The abuse began prior to your 18th birthday,
- The abuse took place in New York State,
- You suffered from physical, psychological, or other injuries, or
- You previously filed a claim, but your claim was dismissed based on the expiration of the statute of limitations.
Survivors of childhood sexual abuse of any age may be able to bring a claim until August 14, 2020. After August 14, 2020, survivors may only be able to bring a claim until their 55th birthday.”
“Between the opening of the CVA on August 14, 2019, and May 31, 2021, more than 3,300 child sexual abuse lawsuits involving the Catholic Church, its affiliated organizations, its clergy, and its employees were filed in the state of New York. These lawsuits allege abuse by more than 1,700 individuals, including cardinals, bishops, priests, members of religious orders, and lay staff.”
If you or someone you know has been subjected to child abuse, it is time for you to act and reclaim your power. You should know you are not alone and before taking any drastic action on such sensitive and highly critical matter; one should consult first with a child victims’ lawyer. The lawyer can best guide you through the process and although, no legislation or a Judge can whatsoever compensate for the wounds of the past. The least the legal system can do is to ensure that what happened with you does not continue to happen with someone else. The system can ensure to protect you from the perpetrator.
This article provides general information and comments on the subject matter covered and is not intended to provide legal advice. With respect to the subject matter, viewers should not rely on this information, but seek specific legal advice before taking any legal action. Please do contact us in case any credits have not been mentioned, the same will be rectified.
 Minor (law) - Wikipedia  "Offenses Against the Family". State of Tennessee. As used in this section, minor means a person under twenty-one (21) years of age.  The Indian Majority Act, 1875 (indiankanoon.org)  Coleman, Bennet & (2017-12-21). "Class XI student to be tried as adult for Ryan boy's Murder". The Times of India.  Child Victims Act | NY Criminal Lawyers Saland Law (new-york-lawyers.org)  Ibid.  Child Victims Act | Douglas & London (douglasandlondon.com)  What is The New York Child Victims Act and How Does It Benefit You?New York Child Victims Act - Jeff Anderson and Associates (andersonadvocates.com)
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