Many Victims Falling through the CVA Cracks in New York
A report out of New York State is drawing attention to the hundreds of victims of sexual violence who have been unable to take advantage of the Child Victims Act. We hope that this story will encourage other attorneys to step into the arena and use their training and expertise to give voice to the voiceless and help prevent future cases of sexual violence.
According to the Times Union, many survivors are facing brick walls when trying to file suit because attorneys can only afford to take on cases that involve large organizations like the Catholic church or the Boy Scouts of America. This is sad and distressing news because we know that many of these victims come forward in order to protect others from being abused by the person who hurt them, and being unable to sue means those abusers will stay hidden.
We hope that survivors and concerned citizens will support a proposed measure to address this serious problem. Sen. James Gaughran has introduced a bill that would add a box at the bottom of state tax refund documents so that New Yorkers could donate to a fund that would provide grants to legal nonprofits that represent people who want to bring sex abuse claims. The bill would also establish fines for people found criminally responsible for certain sex crimes, and those fines would also go into the fund.
When survivors are given a chance to have their day in court, communities are safer and we know that when abusers are named, children and the vulnerable are better protected. We hope that Sen. Gaughran’s bill is enacted, and also that those attorneys who read this report will consider accepting these survivors as clients, helping them make their stories public and leading to safer, more informed communities throughout New York.
CONTACT: Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (firstname.lastname@example.org, 517-974-9009)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)