2019 was a banner year for ZA’AKAH’s fight to protect children from abuse and secure justice for survivors. On January 28th 2019, the Child Victims Act passed unanimously through the New York State Senate, and near-unanimously through the Assembly. on February 14th 2019 it was signed into law, and on August 14th 2019 the one-year lookback window opened, giving survivors who for decades were denied justice access to the courts.

Aside from the Child Victims Act, ZA’AKAH was also able to secure the passage of Erin’s Law, which mandates abuse prevention education for all public school students in New York State in grades K-8.

While these victories are significant, they are only the first step toward a safe New York for our children. ZA’AKAH will therefore be advocating for the following proposals in the upcoming 2020 New York State legislative session:

  • Expanding the abuse prevention education mandate created by Erin’s Law to include all students in all public and nonpublic schools.

  • Mandate periodic teacher training in recognizing and properly handling and reporting suspicions or disclosures of child sexual abuse.

  • Extending or eliminating altogether the statute of limitation for child sexual abuse.

  • Modifying the New York State Evidence Law to allow character testimony by victims in child sexual abuse trials. This will allow other victims of an alleged abuser to attest to and establish a pattern of abuse by that abuser.

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

  • Expanding the class of mandated reporters to include all clergy.

  • Expanding mandated reporter training to require that it be given periodically.

We look forward to working with out partners in advocacy, and with all our volunteers to see these proposals realized, and we welcome any and all feedback on these proposals. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or requests.