For Immediate Release:
June 15, 2017
Matthew Nocella, (202) 724-8105
It’s time for real change to help survivors of childhood sexual abuse heal
Washington, D.C. – Today, the Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety held a hearing on two laws to eliminate the criminal and civil statute of limitations on sexual abuse. Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large), a member of the committee and author of the Childhood Protection Against Sexual Abuse Amendment Act released the following statement:
“I believe there are few actions more depraved than sexual violence against children. Full of boundless curiosity, bold imagination, and care-free spirits, the unique innocence of childhood is something to marvel.
“Unfortunately 1 in 10 children will be stripped of this innocence before their 18th birthday. Alarmingly, children are most vulnerable to sexual abuse between the ages of 7 and 13. Because children have no comprehension of adult sexual behaviors and activity, any exposure to these aspects of adult life can and often does result in mental and emotional trauma.
“The experience of sexual violence as a child is one that endures for ages. Most survivors do not come forward until well into adulthood, suffering for years with depression, feelings of guilt and sometimes difficulty forming intimate relationships.
“My legislation eliminates the civil statute of limitations for recovery of damages arising out of child sex abuse claims. Additionally, the bill creates a two-year window for individuals whose claims of child sex abuse were previously time-barred, enabling victims to go back in time and begin working to heal.
“Child safety depends on legislators holding institutions, not just individual perpetrators, accountable for their actions. We cannot continue to allow individuals or institutions to maintain their depraved secrets. We must instead encourage and empower victims to come forward and know that a fair and just system is in place to help them right unspeakable wrongs.
“Given the passage of time, the evolution of this body and society as a whole on this issue, it is my sincere hope that we can affect real change for victims by enacting these critical measures to enhance their legal recourse.
“I want to thank everyone who testified today, especially those who are survivors of such crimes. Your bravery today will help those like you who have endured so much and seek justice for their anguish.
“I also want to thank Chairperson Charles Allen for holding a hearing on these two critical measures. I look forward to working together with him to advance them to the full Council.”