SNAP Applauds as Pennsylvania House Advances Reform to Give Survivors their Day in Court
The Pennsylvania State House today moved forward on much-needed reforms that can help provide justice for survivors of child sexual abuse and help prevent future cases from happening in the first place. We are grateful that this measure has advanced and look forward to the day when survivors in Pennsylvania will be allowed their day in court.
House Bill 14 seeks to amend the state’s constitution in order to create a two-year “window” that would temporarily lift the civil statute of limitations on sex crimes, allowing survivors to file lawsuits and get critical information about abusers and enablers into the hands of the public. This much-needed reform still faces an uphill battle, but we are hopeful that the people of Pennsylvania will support the effort and give survivors and children in Pennsylvania a shot at justice and prevention.
Statute of limitations reform has been a challenging fight in Pennsylvania. Survivors and advocates have been fighting for years to advance this change. Despite multiple investigations into cases of serial abuse and cover-up within Catholic institutions in Pennsylvania attempts to reform the state’s statute of limitations have repeatedly fallen short, due in no small part to lobbying from the Catholic Church itself.
"We know the wolves are watching," said Mike McDonnell, leader of SNAP Philadelphia. "We will remain optimistic until all have their claims heard."
We hope that this latest effort will succeed and that those who were victimized in any institution, whether a church, school, youth camp, or otherwise, will be empowered to come forward, name their abusers and the enablers, and help create a safer society for children.
(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)