HARRISBURG – The Senate approved a comprehensive package of bills today to support survivors of sexual abuse, including legislation to reform the statute of limitations to give survivors more time to come forward, according to Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-34), who supported the bills.
The package of legislation addresses all of the recommendations of a grand jury investigation that was released to the public last year. The bills are designed to ensure victims are supported and all perpetrators of sexual crimes against children are held responsible for their heinous actions, Senator Corman said.
“Today’s action promises to be an effective and permanent law of the Commonwealth and offers another important tool for prosecutors and future victims,” Senator Corman said. “Eliminating the criminal and most civil statutes of limitations on child sexual abuse is no minor accomplishment.”
The bills include:
- House Bill 962, which would eliminate the criminal statute of limitations for the sexual abuse of a child, as well as associated crimes such as human trafficking. The bill also extends the deadline for civil actions from age 30 to age 55.
- House Bill 963, which would amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to create a two-year window of time for retroactive lawsuits for victims whose statute of limitations has already expired. The legislation addresses concerns lawmakers raised last year about whether the two-year window was unconstitutional.
- House Bill 1051, which clarifies mandatory reporting standards for suspected cases of abuse and increases penalties for mandated reporters who continue to fail to report suspected child abuse.
- House Bill 1171, which ensures survivors who sign non-disclosure statements are not prohibited from speaking with law enforcement regarding their abuse.
Senator Corman said the bills are a culmination of a years-long effort to create effective and permanent laws to ensure perpetrators of sexual offenses against young people are held accountable by the legal system.
The Senate passed a number of similar measures last year, including lifting the statute of limitations for all civil and criminal cases of child sex abuse.
CONTACT: Jenn Kocher (717) 787-1377 or firstname.lastname@example.org