"Window" Legislation - Power to Survivors of Child Sex Abuse
Message from Vicki Polin, Executive Director - The Awareness Center, Inc.
September 30, 2007
Years ago I worked with young children who provided testimony in court regarding their victimization. Victim advocates often help children through the process by scheduling a time prior to the court date for the child to walk around the court room and also meet the judge (if possible). By doing this, it helps to elevate some of the tension and anxiety a child might have.
Someday you or another adult survivor may decide it's right for you to file a civil suit against your offender(s). Without the "Window" legislation you may not be allowed to do so. We need your help to make it possible for you to have choice.
We need each and everyone one of you to help to make laws better in the United States, Israel, Canada and beyond. Not just for children, but for adult survivors too!
The youtube video (see link above) is being supplied in hopes of helping you and any other adult survivors of child sexual abuse feel more comfortable about speaking out at legislative hearings, by seeing what it's like to do so.
The first two slide of the video are difficult to read. Below is the text of the slides
The following photographs were taken at CALL TO ACTION FOR STATE & NATIONAL LAWS LIFTING The STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
ON Sex Crimes Against Children on both criminal and civil suits.
The news media even took place on September 25, 2007 at 11:00 am at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University - Jacob Burns Moot Court Room, New York, New York
It is estimated that one in five boys and one in four girls in America are victims of childhood sexual abuse. Most of the perpetrators are known by the victims. But, far too many of these crimes go unreported for many years -- only 10 percent of victims go to authorities -- and most of the offenders escape responsibility.
When victims finally -- and courageously -- speak up, they are denied justice
as arbitrary statutes of limitations prohibit them from seeking legal recourse.
Two states -- California in 2003 and Delaware in 2007, led by Sen. Peterson -- have enacted legislation that amends these arbitrary deadlines to enable both criminal prosecutions and civil actions against the perpetrators.
In California, "window" legislation, which suspended the civil limitation, helped identify 300 previously anonymous predators and enabled victims to seek justice again them. For the past several years, Assemblywoman Markey has introduced similar legislation in New York. It has passed in the Assembly, but has stalled each time in the Senate.
Statement from “America's Most Wanted” on the Windows Legislation
September 24, 2007
Since the show's inception in 1988, America's Most Wanted has captured more than 950 fugitives, helping thousands of victims worldwide get justice. But justice isn't always possible for everyone.
“One of biggest frustrations for us,” says program host John Walsh, “is working on cases where the victims in some states will likely never see justice. Because each state in this country has its on criminal laws, often the statute of limitations precludes victims from ever seeing their attackers pay the price for their crimes.” In New York State, for example, sexual assault cases have a statute of limitations of 10 years, which hardly seems acceptable given that the national collection of DNA evidence is a relatively new initiative and it often takes years and years to get a match or a “hit” on a particular criminal's DNA.
John Walsh references a recent case profiled on AMW: A man named Altemio Sanchez was wanted for a number of rapes and a number of murders in Buffalo, New York. The fugitive was eventually captured and has since been sentenced to prison for the three murders. However, even though DNA evidence linked Sanchez to more than a dozen rapes, none of those victims will ever get closure because the statute of limitations had run out. “It's time for Statute of Limitations laws to catch up with the 21st century,” said John Walsh. “Only then, will victims of crime have a true opportunity to seek and receive justice,” he said.