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Legislature extends one-year “look-back” window

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The ongoing pandemic has caused upheaval in all areas of society, including the legal system. There were concerns that time would run out yet again for survivors of child sexual abuse. Many people have called for an extension of lawsuits allowed under the Child Victims Act. The order was set to expire in August.

The good news is the legislature voted to extend the filing deadline another year. Survivors of child sexual abuse now have until August of 2021 to file a suit under the Child Victims Act.

The purpose the Child Victims Act is to allow lawsuits that normally would have been barred by the statute of limitations. This has led to an avalanche of litigation against youth organizations, churches and other groups.

Some critics of the extension have argued that organizations deserve some sense of finality. Supporters of the extension have pointed out that survivors need more time to pursue their legal options, especially given pandemic-related shutdowns.

Michael Polenberg, vice president of government affairs at Safe Horizon, released a statement saying, “The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the ability of survivors of childhood sexual abuse to meet with their attorneys and gather evidence…it’s vitally important that they have enough time to pursue their rights.”

Even with the extension, it’s crucial for survivors of child sexual abuse to pursue their legal options sooner than later. Doing so can help preserve your rights and enable you to demand accountability from organizations who allowed acts of abuse to persist. You should take the time to discuss your options with a skilled legal professional.

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