New York – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation (S.2416/A.1945) to increase the statute of limitations for civil suits related to injury caused by domestic violence to two years. Under current law, civil suits for domestic violence must be initiated within one year after the incident and the law fails to take into consideration the highly emotional and extremely difficult factors involved in domestic violence situations that often prevent survivors from making the decision to initiate a civil suit. The new law recognizes the sensitive nature of domestic violence and affords victims two years to initiate a civil suit against their abuser. The bill takes effect immediately.
“The trauma of domestic violence can take years to overcome, and frankly one year isn’t enough time for survivors to come to terms with what happened to them and to take action against their attacker,” Governor Cuomo said. “This new measure will help address this injustice, providing victims more time to file a lawsuit and ensuring people who are guilty of domestic violence are held accountable.”
“My mother dedicated her life to helping survivors of domestic violence, and her work has inspired me during my time in public service,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “This legislation continues to build on our efforts to protect and support victims of domestic violence. We want to make sure individuals have the time and resources they need to hold their abusers accountable and help with recovery. New York continues to lead the way to protect the most vulnerable, eliminate injustice, and strengthen our society.”
Senator Anna Kaplan said, “For many survivors of domestic violence, the decision to file a civil suit against their abuser is a complicated one that can take a lot of time to consider. This bill doubles the amount of time that a survivor has to make that decision and initiate action against an abuser, and it’s one of many bills supporting survivors that I’m proud to have helped pass this session. I thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership to support survivors in New York State, and applaud him for signing this bill into law.”
Assembly Member Kenneth Zebrowski said, “The physical, mental and logistical impacts of domestic violence can make it impossible for a survivor to file a lawsuit within one year. By doubling the statute of limitations, we allow survivors to focus on their safety first and still have time to seek damages from their abuser. Thank you to Governor Cuomo for collaborating and signing this important victim’s rights bill.”
As part of the 2019 Women’s Justice Agenda, Governor Cuomo made justice for domestic violence survivors a top priority and signed the Domestic Violence Justice Survivors Act into law, allowing New York to take critical steps toward addressing the years of injustice faced by survivors whose lives have been shattered by abuse and make it less likely that survivors will be re-victimized or re-incarcerated.