The Impact of the Adult Survivors Act on Sexual Assault Victims
ALBANY, N.Y. – For the past year, the Adult Survivors Act in New York has allowed more than 2,500 lawsuits to be filed against institutions and famous individuals accused of sexual misconduct. This includes claims against former President Donald Trump, music mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs, and comedian Russell Brand. The law is set to expire after Thanksgiving, which may leave many women who have experienced sexual abuse while serving time in prisons and jails without proper recourse to seek justice.
Initially created to provide a year-long suspension of the usual time limit for sexual assault victims to sue, the Adult Survivors Act was modeled after a previous New York law, the Child Victims Act. The latter provided temporary access to file claims for individuals who were abused as children and missed the standard statute of limitations. Trauma often takes time to process and for survivors to find their voice, and this law aimed at giving them more time to heal before filing claims against institutions and individuals.
The Impact of the Adult Survivors Act
Elizabeth Robert, the CEO of Safe Horizon, an organization that helps to empower victims and prevent violence, commented on the importance of the Adult Survivors Act noting that, “trauma takes time.” The law has allowed for institutions such as hospitals and employers to be held accountable for failing to prevent abuse, creating a safer environment for survivors of sexual assault.
The Rise in Lawsuits
The passing of the Adult Survivors Act has led to a multitude of legal claims from individuals who previously felt they had no voice to report what happened to them. The lawsuits filed under this law include claims against the state, New York City, and local counties. The majority of these lawsuits involve allegations of abuse at state prisons and local jail systems. Advocates of the Adult Survivors Act praise the law’s effectiveness in empowering survivors.
Abuse in New York’s Prison System
The recent filings of lawsuits demonstrate that sexual assault is a widespread issue in prisons and jails. Prison-related claims against the state are very high compared to other institutional claims. Some law firms, according to Adam Slater, have submitted over 1,200 filings alleging abuse in state prisons and over 470 claiming mistreatment in New York City’s Rikers Island complex.
Cases Involving Famous Men
Several famous men have been sued for their alleged sexual misconduct under the Adult Survivors Act. Some of these cases include former President Donald Trump, who was found liable in May of 2022 for sexually assaulting writer E. Jean Carroll in 1996; music executive Antonio “L.A.” Reid was sued by Drew Dixon for sexual assault allegations twice in 2001, among others. Some have denied the accusations against them. Advocates of the law see this as an opportunity for those who were abused to have their voices heard and for powerful individuals to be held accountable for their actions.
The Adult Survivors Act has allowed a previously silenced group of individuals to seek accountability and justice. The law is set to expire after Thanksgiving, potentially leaving many without adequate means to recourse. Going forward, it is important to provide sexual assault survivors with the proper resources to report their abuse. The passing of similar laws that help these individuals is critical in empowering them to heal and creating a safer society for them and future generations.
- Adult Survivors Act
- Sexual assault victims
- New York Prisons and Jails
- Famous men accused of sexual misconduct
- Empower survivors
- Accountability for sexual assault perpetrators
- Statute of limitations for sexual assault claims
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Seeking Justice for Survivors of Sexual Violence: recognition …
Seeking justice – RAINN