GET THE FACTS: On the Constitutionality of HB 1947 ~ #ThisShouldBeEasy

Once you have read the facts below, please contact the Senate Judiciary Committee HERE and:

  • Request they pass HB 1947 without any amendments that would further limit the time it takes for victims of child sex abuse to come forward and to identify the hidden predators in our communities and to shift the burden of the cost from the victims and society at large to those who are responsible for the harm.
  • Tell them you want children protected, predators identified and leave the decision of constitutionality of the bill to those who are charged to decide it- the PA Supreme Court.

Background: Currently in Pennsylvania, a survivor of child sex abuse has until age 50 to file criminal charges and age 30 to initiate a civil suit if the abuse occurred after 2002. Anyone abused before that year has much less time to report abuse.

HB 1947 seeks to eliminate time barriers to file criminal and civil cases for those abused after the bill becomes law. It would affect both private and public institutions, however much misinformation has been spread about this bill and its constitutionality

Claim: HB 1947 is unconstitutional.

Fact: This charge has been leveled against attempts to reform the statute of limitations in numerous other states, including California, Delaware, Massachusetts and Connecticut. In all of these cases, the legislation was found to be constitutional.

Claim: HB 1947 does not apply to public institutions.

Fact: HB 1947 will apply equally to private and public institutions going forward. Due to the sovereign immunity protections afforded to state institutions by the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, it appears that this reform cannot apply retroactively to them.

Claim: HB 1947 specifically targets the Catholic Church.

Fact: Statute of limitations reform is not limited to any specific group or organization, religious or otherwise. In fact, there are countless institutions that have protected abusers, such as schools, hospitals, scout organizations, sports programs and juvenile facilities. Furthermore, over 90 percent of survivors were abused by family members or close acquaintances, which will also be covered by HB 1947.

Once you have read the facts below, please contact the Senate Judiciary Committee HERE and:

  • Request they pass HB 1947 without any amendments that would further limit the time it takes for victims of child sex abuse to come forward and to identify the hidden predators in our communities and to shift the burden of the cost from the victims and society at large to those who are responsible for the harm.
  • Tell them you want children protected, predators identified and leave the decision of constitutionality of the bill to those who are charged to decide it- the PA Supreme Court.
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2 thoughts on “GET THE FACTS: On the Constitutionality of HB 1947 ~ #ThisShouldBeEasy

  1. Thank you so much for putting this together. We must keep the pressure on the Senate to get HB 1947 bill out of committee and KEEP the retroactive portion. So many lives will be sparred the suffering of CSA through the exposure of unknown predators. Parents in the videos – I hear your voice as you honor your son’s dying wish. You are not alone in this fight. We will not give up this fight until all children have the protection and justice they deserve.

  2. Thanks for your comment. We along with many local and state advocacy organizations are doing everything we can to get HB 1947 passed through the Senate unscathed. If it gets through, the governor has promised to sign it.

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