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Child sex abuse is often committed by someone known by the child but not a member of the family. Perpetrators are people in authority who use their power to coerce children. Many times, these abusers are part of an organization more concerned with what reporting the accusations would do to its image than helping a child in danger.
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On February 14, 2019, Governor Cuomo signed the Child Victims Act. This law extends the time that a survivor has to report the abuse they were subject to as a child. Now, criminal charges can be brought until the survivor turns 28- years-old, and civil lawsuits can be filed until the survivor is 55-years-old.
Included in the law is a “look-back window.” It provides a period for complaints to be filed that had previously been blocked by New York State’s statute of limitations. The look-back window provides a much needed opportunity for survivors to seek justice from the courts.
Victims of childhood sexual abuse suffer long-term effects that can impact their mental health in adulthood. Survivors of childhood sexual abuse are more likely to suffer from drug abuse, have PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and experience a major depressive episode as an adult.(1)
It requires years of counseling and self-work to even begin to overcome these problems. The organizations and institutions who allowed this abuse to occur, and continue, should be held responsible for the damage they wrought and compensate survivors for the trauma they’ve suffered, and continue to suffer.
Weitz & Luxenberg has assembled a team of attorneys to help the survivors of childhood sexual abuse. These attorneys have years of experience in advocating for the rights of our clients and possess the special skills needed to work with survivors of sexual abuse.
As a former criminal prosecutor focusing on sexual offenses, Ms. Breakstone knows that to successfully represent any survivor of childhood sexual assault she must listen to her client completely and compassionately. Each client has individual needs that must be addressed as the legal case moves forward. Ms. Breakstone has both the skill and empathy to effectively advocate for victims. She works to get them what they need, to have their story heard, and to edge one step closer to having their lives repaired.
Child sex abuse is defined as any act between an adult and a minor which forces the child to engage in a sexual act or any sexual contact.
The effects on the child survivor are long-term, taking years for victims to recognize what happened to them and recover. This long-term recovery can run into statute of limitations restrictions which end up denying the survivor of their legal rights for criminal and civil prosecution.
Weitz & Luxenberg has filed lawsuits against organizations and institutions on behalf of survivors of child sex abuse. These organizations, who knew or should have known that their representatives were abusing children, did nothing to protect the children. Instead, they choose to protect their organizations.