The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape supports the abolition of the statute of limitations to report sexual assault and believes that adult survivors of sexual abuse for whom the statute of limitations has expired should be afforded a two-year window of opportunity to seek civil remedies for their victimization.
PCAR urges the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to act in the best interest of public safety by voting to approve this “window” measure.
People who commit sexual offenses do not adhere to any prescribed time limitation for their crimes. Many are repeat offenders who throughout their lifetimes seek or create multiple opportunities to sexually offend against multiple victims, and leave a wake of mental, physical and spiritual devastation in our communities that may last years for sexual assault victims. For many survivors, the assaults that were perpetrated against result in significant barriers to educational achievements, job attainment and employment retention. Emotional and physical difficulties may also endure for decades after the abuse has ended.
For these reasons it is crucial that survivors of sexual abuse be afforded the right to pursue justice through the civil courts.
Pennsylvania has become a national focal point for the issue of child sexual assault. Through the past year we have watched numerous adult survivors testify in very public trials about the torment they have endured not only from the personal impact of their abuse, but also from trying to determine whether to trust the public and our justice systems with the truth of what they had endured.
It is time for Pennsylvania to recognize that sexual abuse can create life-long difficulties, and afford survivors every opportunity to seek justice. Pennsylvania can do this by providing a two-year window for survivors of sexual abuse to explore justice through civil actions.
Kristen L. Houser, MPA
Vice President of Communications & Development
Office: 717.728.9740 ext 144