Yesterday, Governor Tom Wolf took a stand for victims of crime, abuse, and harassment in Pennsylvania. He called on the General Assembly to prioritize and deliver to his desk several bills that have been stalled in the legislature that would empower, protect, and support victims.
As the Morning Call reports:
“Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has joined a growing chorus of reformers calling on lawmakers to give victims of child sex assault greater legal protections as fallout continues over a month-old grand jury report that exposed decades of clergy sex abuse in Catholic dioceses.”
“We have seen too many pro-victim bills fall to the wayside in the past 18 months and I call on the General Assembly to put victims first and take action on these proposals this fall,” said Governor Wolf. “The grand jury report is a gut-wrenching reminder that our laws are failing too many victims of crime. There are too many issues, including domestic violence, child sexual abuse, gun violence and sexual assault, where bills that would help victims and protect families are stalled in the legislature and this is unacceptable.”
The proposals that the governor is urging the legislature to move quickly on include:
- Child Sexual Abuse: Governor Wolf has urged action on the four recommendations of the statewide grand jury into clergy sexual abuse that would eliminate the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse and allow for survivors of child sexual abuse to file civil claims against their abusers and the institutions that enabled them.
- Domestic Violence: Since 2017, Governor Wolf has pushed for a package of bipartisan Senate bills to combat domestic violence and protect survivors.
- Sexual Assault: Governor Wolf unveiled a bipartisan “It’s On Us” legislative package in September 2017. These bills would focus on empowering and protecting victims of sexual assault, especially on college and high school campuses.
- Gun Violence: Governor Wolf has supported many bills to reduce violence and protect individuals from becoming victims of gun crimes, including taking guns more swiftly from domestic abusers and creating a new red-flag emergency order to keep guns away from dangerous individuals.
- Sexual Harassment: Governor Wolf and legislative Democrats introduced nearly two dozen bills to combat sexual harassment and improve treatment of victims.
- Hate Crimes and Discrimination: Governor Wolf has long called for legislation providing protections for members of the LGBTQ community from discrimination and hate crimes.
- Human Trafficking: Governor Wolf supports Senator Greenleaf’s SB 554, Safe Harbor legislation to protect the child victims of human trafficking from being prosecuted for crimes they were forced to commit.
- Hazing: Governor Wolf has long-supported the Pennsylvania Timothy J. Piazza Law to give law enforcement the tools they need to hold people accountable and ensure schools have proper safeguards to protect students and curb these practices.