Tribune-Review [Pittsburgh PA]
September 5, 2021
By Marci Hamilton
The argument Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward used in her op-ed (“Retroactive window for victims is no quick fix,” Aug. 24, TribLIVE) to justify her opposition to House Bill 951 — a bill that would create a two-year civil liability window for child sex abuse survivors — is an incredulous excuse and one that denies past, current and future victims of child sex abuse access to the justice that they so rightly deserve.
Pennsylvanians can see right through her disingenuous attempt to position herself as a champion of protecting child abuse survivors, just by looking at her past actions, including refusing to work with survivors and advocates while continuing to cozy up to the very institutions that enable predators.
Legislation similar to HB 951 has been tried and tested in legislatures and jurisdictions across the country. Twenty states, Washington, D.C., and Guam all found a window is well within constitutional bounds and an appropriate fix, and passed similar laws. In Pennsylvania, HB 951 will serve the commonwealth’s interest by identifying hidden child predators and the institutions that endanger children, shifting the cost of abuse from victims and taxpayers to those who caused the abuse, and educating the public about the prevalence, signs and impact of child sex abuse so that it can be prevented.
This should not be about the optics and what looks best for you. It should be about the victims of sexual abuse and assault and what measure is going to provide the highest level of justice for them.
The writer is founder and CEO of CHILD USA.