Foundation fund

The Adult Survivors Act looks set to pass through the Assembly

ALBANY—As the Adult Survivors Act appears poised to pass the Assembly before the end of the state legislative session, activists continue to debate whether legislation is the best way to respond to the needs of victims of sexual abuse.

The bill, designed after the Child Victims Act, would allocate a one-year look-back window for survivors to file civil lawsuits against their abusers or the institutions that protect them. It has already passed unanimously twice in the State Senate.

After the Child Victims Act went into effect, survivors struggled to find legal representation, said Gary Greenberg, founder of Protect NY Kids, because attorneys often did not take cases without a rich defendant.

He said he was adamantly opposed to the Adult Surviving Act as it is currently drafted. Instead, he would prefer the legislature to pass a legal fund similar to the one that has been proposed for child sex abuse survivors who have struggled to find lawyers.

A bill addressing the issue has been introduced by State Senator James Gaughran, D-Long Island. If passed, it would change state tax laws to allow corporations to direct their tax refunds to the Foundation’s Fund for Child Victims.

As activists celebrated the announcement that there are enough votes to pass – first reported by NY1 – Greenberg said the legislation would create all the problems that the Child Victims Act created for survivors seeking a remedy.

“There are more victims who will soon discover that lawyers will not take their cases to ASA for the same reasons as CVA. The legislature prepares victims to be revictimized.

“Ultimately, tens of thousands of victims will be left at the door of justice.”

Asher Lovy, executive director of ZA’AKAH, an organization that connects survivors in the Orthodox Jewish community to services, said the experience of trying to get the Adult Survivors Act through the Legislative Assembly has been frustrating. , especially for those who have experienced first-hand abuse, but continue to push for the bill.

“I don’t think these lawmakers understand that every time you ask a survivor to tell their story, you take a piece of it,” he said.

Lovy pointed out that a number of high-profile cases await to be brought forward once the legislation becomes law, a fundamental part of the bill that Greenberg disagrees with.

“It would only help one class of survivors,” Greenberg said. “That’s the wrong message to send.”