Eliminating Limits to Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims Act may see a Presidential Signature

(For Immediate Release September 14, 2022) 

On Tuesday in Washington, D.C., Congress approved legislation abolishing the statute of limitations for victims of child sex abuse seeking to file civil claims, putting the bill to President Biden's desk for final approval. We applaud this measure and know that efforts like this will go a long way towards creating safer communities for children across the country.

The law dubbed the Eliminating Limits to Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims Act, calls for removing the statute of limitations for minors filing civil claims relating to several sex abuse crimes, including forced labor, sex trafficking, sexual abuse, and sexual exploitation of children. This bill will amend current federal law to be more in line with the scientific reality of “delayed disclosure” and will hopefully signal for other states to abolish their own statutes of limitation as well.

We echo the statement made by New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler. “This bill will enable survivors who are victims of federal child sex abuse offenses, including aggravated sexual abuse, sex trafficking, human trafficking, forced labor, and sexual exploitation, to seek civil damages in federal court regardless of the amount of time that has passed since the abuse,”

While civil claims bring a level of justice for many, investigating and preventing incidents of child sexual abuse are equally important. As it is, the United States lags behind the rest of the globe; we must catch up, and this legislation is one way to do so.

It is important to note that in civil claims the discovery process can be revealing and can help get information into the hands of parents and communities that will better protect children. For example, we have seen many cases where an allegation or inquiry into sexual crimes and cover-ups committed by clerics or other church staffers have inspired other victims to step forward. As we have seen in the past, a few of these previously unknown cases end up seeing criminal charges because the perpetrator never stopped.

This approved legislation renews our call for more action, especially in terms of federal investigations into institutions that abuse and cover-up abuse. Countries like Australia, the United Kingdom, France, and Canada have all launched national investigations into crimes committed by Catholic clergy and we believe that it is long overdue for the United States to follow suit and send a message to institutions throughout the country that the abuse of children and the vulnerable will not be ignored or minimized any longer.

CONTACT:  Mike McDonnell, Communications Manager ([email protected], 267-261-0578) Zach Hiner, Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

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