THE CHILD VICTIMS ACT
August 23, 2019 | Pastor's Corner
There has been a great deal of coverage in the media in the last couple of weeks about the Child Victims Act that has recently come into force. On Wednesday, August 14th, the Child Victims Act (CVA), a law signed by Governor Cuomo on February 14, 2019, became effective. This law provides a victim of childhood sexual abuse until the age of 55 to start a civil lawsuit for that abuse. It also provides a one-year period or “window” in which child victims of sexual abuse can file lawsuits. Under the CVA, the one-year period or “window” for filing of lawsuits began on August 14, 2019 and closes on August 14, 2020.
This law allows victims of child sexual abuse to seek compensation for the wrong that was done to them perhaps many years or decades ago. It also validates their claims because now someone finally believes their claim. It allows them to face the harm that they have experienced and offers them a sense of closure and hopefully a sense of healing. The trauma they have experienced cannot and never will be undone. They have lost a lot psychologically and emotionally as a result of the betrayal they have experienced at the hands of trusted individuals.
The CVA is not directed solely toward the Catholic Church, although most of the cases filed so far have been against the Catholic Church. This Act allows for any victims of child sexual misconduct to seek compensation against any individual or entity involved. These include municipalities, public and private schools, not-for-profit organizations, private entities, as well as individuals alleged to have committed the abuse.
We continue to pray for the victims of child sexual abuse that God may provide them with a sense of hope, healing and peace.
To report abuse of a minor by a member of clergy (priest or deacon), an employee, or a volunteer, please contact the civil authorities and the Diocese of Buffalo’s Victim Assistance Coordinator: Jacqueline Joy: Phone (716) 895-3010.