The New York State legislature approved the Child Victims Act on Monday, more than a decade after the bill was introduced.
Governor Cuomo is expected to sign the bill into law.
The bill passed 130-3 in the Assembly and unanimously in the Senate with 63 votes. A version of the bill has passed through the Assembly in recent years but has never hit the floor of the previously Republican-held Senate for a vote.
The bill would extend the statute of limitations for criminal cases involving victims of childhood sexual abuse from 23 to 28 and for civil cases until the survivor turns 55.
It also includes a one-year lookback window so anyone who alleges previous abused can file a civil claim of their own. That period will end one-year after the bill is signed.
New York State Attorney General Letitia James issued the following statement:
“It is unconscionable that any individual would get away with sexually abusing a child. For far too long, too many New Yorkers have dealt with the long term physical and psychological pain of this abuse — pain that has only been magnified by the lack of recourse and accountability. Today, that begins to change. The passage of the Child Victims Act will finally provide survivors with the justice they have long deserved and will serve as a loud and clear message that child abuse will never be tolerated here.”
Once signed, the law will apply equally to both private and public institutions such as daycares and schools. This was a measure the Catholic Church fought for when the bill was introduced.