The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent shutdown of daily life for many people has seemingly given an abundance of time. But for the survivors and victims of childhood sexual abuse, time is still a precious commodity, even if it's standing still.
And on Friday Gov. Andrew Cuomo handed abuse survivors more time, extending a key provision of the Child Victims Act to Jan. 14.
The measure's look-back period was due to expire in August, making it potentially harder for lawsuits to be filed against abusers and the institutions that protected them.
"I want to thank the governor for doing this because one of the biggest concerns that a lot of survivors and advocates had was the delays caused by COVID on the courts," said Asher Lovy, an abuse survivor.
Sen. Alessandra Biagg says time is especially key for survivors who may be hesitant in coming forward to file legal claims against abusers or the institutions that shielded them. Biaggi is an abuse survivor herself.
"It takes time for people to share what has happened to them," she said. "For me it took basically my entire adult life."
But advocates and lawmakers hope work isn't done in the Legislature. Biaggi, along with Senator Brad Hoylman, want the law to be extended again by lawmakers.
"This additional time the governor has provided is an incredibly important step," Hoylman said. "We need to move forward though as a Legislature and give those survivors another year."
Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal said the move would provide a "collective sigh of relief" for survivors.
"The newly extended window, which was set to close on August will now close on January 14, 2021," she said. "Until this new order was issued, there had been widespread confusion among advocates that survivors were losing precious time in the window because COVID-19 has prevented New York State Courts from accepting all by emergency filings."
The fear and uncertainty caused by the pandemic can toll anyone's mental health. For survivors it can be especially traumatic.
"They need all the help they can get and COVD-19 is just excerbating the trauma they've experienced," Lovy said.
For now there is no word on when the Legislature will return to resume what would likely be session by voting conference.