Senate Approves New Protections for Sexual Abuse Survivors, Including Statute of Limitations Reforms

Harrisburg – Sen. Bob Mensch (R-24) said that the Senate approved a comprehensive package of bills this week to support survivors of sexual abuse, including legislation to reform the statute of limitations to give survivors more time to come forward.

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.

“The child abuse cases that prompted these changes are horrific. These reforms will help bring justice to survivors of child abuse, hold perpetrators accountable, and do so in a manner that is constitutional,” Mensch said.

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 50.
  • 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.

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 several similar measures last year, including lifting the statute of limitations for all civil and criminal cases of child sex abuse.

 

CONTACT: Mark Fetzko, mfetzko@pasen.gov, 717-787-3110