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House Bill 963

Ashley Gay Vocco of family services in Blair County says often times children do not know where to turn for help when they face sexual abuse or they may not realize or speak about their trauma until adulthood. Legally that presents a problem,

Though many have suggested removing the statute of limitations in these cases to allow for prosecution years later, some have pushed back. The compromise was a constitutional amendment. Representative Jim Gregory said the measure would have given individuals who faced child abuse beyond the normal statute, a two year window to have their cases heard in civil court.

After approval in the Pennsylvania house and senate, it was scheduled to be on the ballot in June. But the department of state failed to properly advertise the amendment, making it ineligible to appear on the ballot.

Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar has taken the blame and resigned from her post, but the measure now gets pushed back to 2023 at least. Gay Vocco says it’s disheartened survivors, setting them back to square one. Given the link between child sex abuse and suicidal tendencies, she’s concerned for many of them.

“The re-traumatization of survivors during all of this and then to find out that human error is precluding them from seeking justice at least in the future where they thought they would, it’s definitely impactful.”

“I’m not quite giving up hope. There is an avenue that we could accomplish to keep this thing on the current realtor that’s on, otherwise it will be the spring of 2023.”

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