Syracuse Sex Abuse Lawyer

Last updated Dec 11, 2023

Sexual abuse survivors in Syracuse face several obstacles during the aftermath of the abuse. A Syracuse sex abuse lawyer at Edwards Henderson can help you seek the justice and compensation you deserve by filing a lawsuit for sexual abuse.

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Key Takeaways

  • A Syracuse sex abuse lawyer can listen to your sexual abuse experience and advise you on your legal rights.
  • The New York Adult Survivors Act opens a lookback window for civil cases against alleged perpetrators of sexual assault.
  • If you are considering filing a lawsuit under the New York Adult Survivors Act against the perpetrator and any relevant third party, you may want to speak with a Syracuse sex abuse lawyer today.

Syracuse Sexual Abuse Lawsuits

Sexual abuse can shape the life and self-identity of a person who suffers it at the hands of another. The feeling of violation and loss of autonomy often have far-reaching consequences for a person who has endured this type of abuse or assault. Due to the nature of the abuse, many survivors feel shame and guilt, which may prevent them from coming forward to tell their stories and pursue justice. Some survivors may need years to process what has happened to them and feel ready to talk about it.

With the passage of New York’s Adult Survivors Act which opens a one-year window for previously time-barred lawsuits, more survivors of sexual abuse have the opportunity to pursue justice than ever before. To learn if you may qualify to file a civil lawsuit against your abuser and any businesses and organizations that may have played a role in the abuse, contact a Syracuse sex abuse lawyer at Edwards Henderson today.

What Constitutes Sex Abuse in Syracuse?

One challenge that survivors sometimes run into when attempting to pursue justice for sexual abuse is the definition of abuse. People may wonder whether their experience “counts,” or whether the perpetrator of their abuse broke any laws. Sex abuse laws may appear confusing at first since most states, New York included, divide sexual offenses into different categories of charges (rape, sexual abuse, criminal sexual misconduct, etc.). A Syracuse sex abuse lawyer can listen to your experience and advise you on your legal rights, but the bottom line is that no one may subject another person to unwanted sexual contact and attention.

New York Sexual Abuse Statute of Limitations

Yet another challenge in the pursuit of justice for sexual abuse and assault is the statute of limitations. Most crimes and incidents have limitations on the amount of time in which a civil lawsuit may be filed. Normally, New York State is no exception and survivors have a set amount of time to file a claim. Those who were under 18 at the time the abuse occurred have until they are 55 years old to file a civil claim. Survivors who were over 18 at the time of the abuse, on the other hand, have ten years from the date of the third-degree rape or 20 years for second-degree rape and sexual abuse. Previously, they only had three years to file a lawsuit.

However, a recent law gives survivors of sexual abuse in New York a second chance to seek justice.

What is the New York Adult Survivors Act?

The New York Adult Survivors Act, signed into law on May 24, 2022, opened up the opportunity for people to file civil claims against their abusers after the statute of limitations expires. The law was modeled similarly to New York’s Child Victims Act. It opens a one-year lookback window for survivors who were over 18 at the time of their assault or abuse.

The lookback window essentially removes the statute of limitations on sexual assault claims for one year. The window is set to open on November 24, 2022, allowing survivors some time to prepare and decide whether they want to take advantage of the opportunity to hold their abuser accountable for the harm they may have suffered.

Lookback Windows for Syracuse Sexual Abuse Claims

New York saw a remarkable response to its Child Victims Act, which was signed into law in October 2019 and opened a three-year lookback window for survivors of child sexual abuse. Over 10,000 claims were filed.

Sexual abuse lookback windows are becoming more common throughout the United States, largely in response to the “Me Too” movement. The movement brought an important part of the conversation around sexual assault to light: The fact that it often takes years for survivors to process, talk about, or in some cases remember their abuse. Edwards Henderson has been helping sexual assault survivors for years and we understand how difficult coming to terms with it can be. Our team is composed of compassionate individuals and experienced sex abuse lawyers ready to support you.

What Legal Options Do Sexual Abuse Survivors Have?

When someone decides that they are ready to pursue justice after a sexual assault experience, the options may feel overwhelming at first. The survivor must decide whether they want to file criminal charges or civil charges. After that, they may need to figure out whether to seek compensation from the perpetrator or a company or organization that enabled or covered up the abuse. For example, a patron who has been assaulted by a masseuse at a spa may be able to file a civil claim against the spa if it did not take proper precautions to protect its customers. A sex abuse lawyer in Syracuse can help survivors find the best option based on the unique circumstances of their case.

Criminal vs. Civil Sex Abuse Claims

The New York Adult Survivors Act opens a lookback window for civil cases against alleged perpetrators of sexual assault. The goal of a criminal case is to determine whether someone has broken the law and punish them accordingly. Criminal cases may end in jail or prison time, and they require a substantial amount of evidence that a crime has been committed. Civil cases, on the other hand, are less about punishing the perpetrator and more about assisting in the survivor’s recovery.

In a civil case, the survivor gets to decide what they are looking for. They can seek monetary damages for things like emotional distress. Any settlement they are awarded may be used to cover therapy, move somewhere new to start over, and so forth. Unlike a criminal case, a civil lawsuit also allows survivors to hold relevant organizations and businesses accountable, such as an employer who failed to act when they learned that an employee was being sexually abused by a colleague.

Speak With a Syracuse Sex Abuse Lawyer

If you are considering opening a case under the New York Adult Survivors Act, the first step is to speak with a Syracuse sex abuse lawyer. These types of cases are often difficult for the survivor, so finding a compassionate and experienced lawyer is key. Here at Edwards Henderson, we have years of experience helping survivors of serious crimes like sexual assault through their cases. Contact us today to set up a free legal consultation.

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