New York State Strengthens Childhood Sexual Abuse & Workplace Harassment Laws

New laws passed by the Legislature this past session in New York will give victims of sexual abuse & workplace sexual harassment more of a voice.

Under the Child Victims Act, New York is opening a historic one-year window for survivors of childhood sexual abuse to file civil lawsuits against their abusers, or a negligent institution, regardless of how long ago the abuse took place.

Other changes under the law include allowing victims, who were sexually abused as children, the right to file civil lawsuits against their abusers, or institutions, until they are 55 years old. Under the current law, they could only sue until they were 23.

Along with that landmark legislation, lawmakers this session also made sweeping changes to New York’s workplace sexual harassment laws, making it easier to bring claims forward. It changes the current law that required any claim of harassment to be “severe or pervasive” for the victim to be have any legal recourse. The bills were written with the help of 8 former legislative staffers, who during a day-long hearing at the State Capitol in February, gave harrowing accounts of how they were sexually harassed by former members of the New York State Assembly, Senate, or one of their top aides. One of the bills — signed by the Governor just this week extends the statute of limitations to file a sexual harassment complaint from one year to three. Often it takes survivors much longer than a year to come to grips with the trauma, and to bring forward a complaint.
To talk about that, our studio guest this week is Dr. Kathleen carterMartinez, a Diplomate with the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress. Dr. carterMartinez is certified in both Rape and Sexual Assault Trauma. She specializes in helping people through traumatic events, losses, and recovery. She is a faculty member of Berkeley College, as well as the author of Permission Granted: The Journey from Trauma to Healing from Rape, Sexual Assault & Emotional Abuse. Dr. carterMartinez is a Trauma Specialist at CheyWind Center for Trauma and Healing. Learn more:

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