SNAP Urges Support of Iowa’s SOL Reform Bill
A bi-partisan proposal in the Iowa State Legislature to eliminate both the civil and criminal statutes of limitations and establish a “look back" window” is now with the Senate Judiciary Committee. However, although SSB 1017 was slated for consideration by the Committee last week, it was pulled from the agenda at the last minute. We believe that anyone who is informed about the realities of child sexual abuse (CSA) and how the trauma often prevents the victims from coming forward would be in favor of the passage of this important bill.
Science is clear that delayed disclosure of CSA is the norm, not the exception. According to research done by the nationally renowned think tank CHILD USA, the average age at which a survivor comes forward is 52. The data also shows that most victims of CSA never report what happened to them. Only 1/3 of victims disclose in childhood, and 1/3 never disclose. Survivors are silenced by feelings of shame, as well as the fear that they will be disbelieved if they do speak up. Many do not even realize until years later that what happened to them was a crime.
Allowing victims more time to come forward and seek justice will help to expose ‘hidden predators,' which will make Iowa communities safer. No boy or girl should be put at risk from abusers whose crimes could be made public with legislative reform. Iowa lawmakers should work both to deliver justice to those who have been silenced for far too long and also to protect the innocent from harm. When SOL laws are amended, children and communities are safer, and institutions that have covered up for known perpetrators have a strong incentive to change their behavior.
The consideration – and passage – of SSB 1017 will encourage all victims of sexual violence, no matter their age or where their abuse occurred, to come forward, make a report to law enforcement, and investigate new legal options. We urge everyone who also supports this measure to contact the members of the Judiciary Committee and beg them to send this bill to the Senate floor this year.
Together, we can make this the last year that Iowa law protects predators.
CONTACT: Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected]), Tim Lennon, SNAP President (415-312-5820, [email protected]), Paul A. Koeniguer, SNAP Iowa (515-865-9673, [email protected]), John S. Chambers (515-277-8436, [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)