2019 was a banner year for ZA’AKAH and the fight against child sexual abuse. After 13 years, and after 3 years of advocacy by ZA’AKAH, on January 28th 2019n the Child Victims Act passed unanimously in the New York State Senate and near-unanimously in the Assembly. It was signed into law on February 14th 2019, and the lookback window went into effect on August 14th 2019.

Aside from the Child Victims Act, ZA’AKAH was also instrumental in helping to pass Erin’s Law, which mandates abuse prevention education for all public school students in grades K-8.

While these two critical pieces of legislation represented a tremendous step forward in the fight to prevent sexual abuse and secure justice for survivors, the work is far from over. ZA’AKAH is therefore advocating for the following legislative reforms in the upcoming 2020 legislative session:

  • Expand Erin’s Law to mandate that all nonpublic school students in grades K-8 receive abuse prevention education as well.

  • Mandate that teachers receive periodic training on recognizing signs of child sexual abuse, and proper protocols for handing suspicions and disclosures of abuse.

  • Extend or eliminate the criminal statute of limitations for child sexual abuse.

  • Modify the New York State Evidence Law to allow character testimony against alleged child sexual abusers at trial. This will allow other victims of the same abuser to help establish a pattern of abuse and a modus operandi.

  • Expand the class of mandated reporters to include any adult who works with children.

  • Expand the class of mandated reporters to include clergy.

  • Mandate that mandated reporter training be periodic.

If you have any questions or comments about any of these proposals, or would like to partner with ZA’AKAH on any of these initiatives, please contact us and we’ll respond as soon as we can.