90 percent of voters support Child Victims Act, poll says

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New Yorkers Against Hidden Predators, founding member Marci Hamilton seen here at a press conference calling on state Sen. Elaine Phillips to support the Child Victims Act, is calling on Phillips again to support the act which has the support of 90 percent of state voters. (Photo by Rebecca Klar)

Ninety percent of New York state voters support the proposed Child Victims Act, according to a recent Quinnipiac University Poll, yet the state Senate has not brought the bill to a vote.

The bill would expand the criminal statute of limitations to victims who are 28 years old and the civil statute of limitations to victims up to 50 years old.

The act was passed by the state Assembly five times but has never made it to a vote in the Senate.

New Yorkers Against Hidden Predators, a group of survivors and advocates, has been calling on Majority Leader John Flanagan and his Republican colleagues, including state Sen. Elaine Phillips, to support the bill.

“You have to ask yourself, when 90 percent of New Yorkers support the passage of the Child Victims Act, why isn’t the New York State Senate and Majority Leader John Flanagan willing to announce their support for passage of the bill,” Marci Hamilton, New Yorkers Against Hidden Predators founding member, said in a statement.

Hamilton added that the inability of Flanagan and his “enablers,” including Phillips, to take a stand on the bill shows they believe “victims of childhood sexual abuse don’t matter or should have access to justice.”

This is the first year the bill was included in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget proposal.

In a statement, Phillips said that “this is an issue that should not be taken up during the crafting of a State budget.”

“The seriousness of this matter needs to be discussed and analyzed by experts who can help us come up with legislation that protects victims,” Phillips said. “This needs to be done quickly and thoughtfully. I strongly support a process, and ultimately a solution, that results in meaningful reform that gives victims greater access to true justice.”

Kathryn Robb, a founding member of the group and a survivor of repeated sexual assault as a child growing up in Manhasset, said in a statement that at a time when “sexual assault is front and center in our national conversation, our state senators have the opportunity to actually show some leadership, instead of hiding in the corner.”

“With support from the State Assembly, the Governor, editorial boards across the state, and most importantly 90 percent of voters in New York, it’s clear who remains in the minority on this issue: Senate Majority Leader Flanagan and his rank and file Senate enablers,” Robb said.

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