SNAP Applauds Survivors and Advocates Who Testified Today in Maryland General Assembly House Judiciary Hearing
(For Immediate Release March 2, 2023)
The Maryland General Assembly House Judiciary committee heard testimony from survivors of child sexual abuse in support of HB0001 – sponsored by Delegate C. T. Wilson -altering the definition of "sexual abuse" for purposes relating to civil actions for child sexual abuse to include any act that involves an adult allowing or encouraging a child to engage in certain activities; repealing the statute of limitations in certain civil actions relating to child sexual abuse; repealing a statute of repose for certain civil actions relating to child sexual abuse; providing for the retroactive application of the Act under certain circumstances; etc. This bill gives those who were previously barred by these archaic laws an opportunity to seek justice.
27 U.S. jurisdictions have window or revival laws now in place. We hope, with this hearing today, Maryland becomes that much closer to becoming the next state to take the steps to reform these laws.
This bill is a monumental step forward and brings much-needed reform to the archaic laws that prevent survivors from coming forward and allow abusers to escape justice and hurt more children and vulnerable adults. We are grateful to not only Delegate Wilson and his colleagues in the assembly, but the dedicated survivors and advocates who have worked for decades to create this opportunity for reform.
In our view, justice for victims who have been time-barred starts with access to civil proceedings. The numerous victims whose testimonies were heard in the general assembly deserve our admiration. It is the responsibility of lawmakers to bring people who have been kept silent for too long to justice. Children and communities will be safer if these laws are changed, and institutions that have recycled or hidden known predators will be held accountable. No child should be endangered by known predators, thus this bill merits strong bipartisan support. Legislators in Maryland have the chance to take action by passing HB0001.
We hope that the consideration and passage of this bill will encourage victims of sexual violence, no matter their age or where their abuse occurred, to come forward and make a report to law enforcement. And we hope that those who may have reported in the past but were ignored or fell victim to archaic, predator-friendly laws will find the strength to go through the process one more time in order to find healing and protect children in Maryland.
CONTACT: David Lorenz, SNAP Maryland leader ([email protected], 301-906-9161), Becky Ianni, Virginia and DC SNAP leader ([email protected], (703) 801-6044) Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications ([email protected], 267-261-0578) Zach Hiner, Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009) Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board President ([email protected], 814-341-8386)