SNAP Urges Lawmakers in Maryland to Advance and Pass Child Victims Act of 2023
(For Immediate Release January 19, 2023)
The Child Victims Act of 2023, a bill that would change Maryland's statute of limitations, will be explained before the Maryland Senate Judiciary Proceedings Committee. We hope that this meeting will help legislators better understand the urgent need to remove age and time constraints on civil claims in Maryland for victims of childhood abuse.
The road to justice is frequently difficult for victims of molestation, assault, and childhood sexual abuse. Most survivors don't even begin to accept the abuse until they are far into adulthood, a medical fact known as delayed disclosure. Due to this delay, it is normal for adults in their 30s, 40s, or 50s to acknowledge and admit to having been the victim of child sexual abuse. Despite this fact, civil statute of limitations laws around the country have been slow to change to reflect this reality,
Reviving adult victims of child sex abuse's civil claims is the only means to ensure that justice is served in cases when the civil SOL has passed. In other words, individuals deserve the chance to initiate civil actions if they so choose to correct the wrongs done to them. Older accusations of abuse should be admissible for a variety of reasons, including the importance of maintaining the public's safety. The public gains in many ways when victims can report their abuse and file claims for damages. Most clearly, abusers and those complicit in enabling them are exposed, helping protect other children from the same fate.
Since window legislation has passed in states including New York, New Jersey, and California, we have seen hundreds if not thousands of new survivors come forward, exposing uncomfortable truths about hidden perpetrators and their enablers. To us, there is no question that this law will provide a path toward justice, healing, and prevention for survivors in Maryland.
Society is made safer every time a survivor comes forward to share their experience. We are aware that many abusers are still alive and unreported, endangering the communities in which they reside. The Child Victims Act of 2023 will aid in fixing that issue, enabling survivors to come forward and fostering safer, more educated communities.
We appreciate the Maryland General Assembly for pursuing this remedy for abuse victims, and we hope that Anthony Brown, the state's attorney general, will support victims and use the authority of his position to fight for the release of the thorough investigation into sexual abuse by Catholic clergy in Maryland. Together, we can devise fresh approaches to safeguard children and assist survivors.
CONTACT: Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected] 267-261-0578) Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009) Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board President, (814-341-8386 [email protected])
(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)