Adult survivors of sexual abuse are calling for New York state to pass a bill that would allow them to have their day in court.

“Let’s start with the fact that survivors have been shut out of the courthouses because of COVID-19, as well as the short statutes of limitations, for both crimes of child sexual abuse and crimes of adult sexual abuse,” state Sen. Brad Hoylman told Capital Tonight.  

The Adult Survivors Act, which Hoylman sponsored along with the Child Victims Act, would open a one-year lookback window for those who were abused as adults (18 years or older) to file a civil claim.

The Senate passed the act last year; the Assembly did not.

Sen. Hoylman, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, said that the roadblocks to passage of the Adults Survivors Act seem familiar to him from the fight to pass the Child Victims Act.

“There are opponents, particularly those in the insurance industry, who feel like this is going to be a big payout for survivors. Vested interests, monied interests, might oppose that kind of benefit for survivors,” Hoylman said. “I say they are dead wrong; this is something that survivors are owed.” 

After multiple conversations with Gov. Kathy Hochul and her staff, Hoylman said that he believes that the governor would sign the Adult Survivors Act if it was sent to her desk.

“She understands this issue probably better than most men and I think that’s why we’ve seen a groundswell of support, frankly, within both houses of the legislature,” Hoylman said. “Women have propelled this issue forward along with survivors and legislators.”