Dear Maryland ACEs Action Colleagues,
I am writing to alert you to a trauma informed bill sponsored by Delegate C.T. Wilson to reform the statute of limitations of child sexual abuse to conform to what we now know about the impact of trauma on delayed disclosure of child sexual abuse:
The average age for adults to disclose childhood sexual abuse is 52. Research shows that children who experience an Adverse Childhood Experience (ACEs) can have poor long-term mental and physical health, educational, and employment
outcomes at enormous cost to individuals and the state. The trauma from childhood sexual abuse may lead to PTSD, alcohol and opioid abuse, depression, suicide, and poor educational and employment outcomes. The elimination of the statute of limitations and the lookback window provides survivors a trauma-informed window of time to access justice and shifts the costs of healing to those who caused the harm. It also provides protection for our children who may still be at risk from hidden predators who have not been held accountable under the law and leads to improved institutional practices that keep children safe from sexual predators.
As legislative session is coming to a close in the next 3 weeks, taking action on this bill is urgent. The Thursday February 20th hearing was especially difficult for the nearly dozen survivors, including Delegate Wilson, who shared their personal stories during the House Judiciary hearing. The video of the hearing can be found at: (if it resets start rolling at 49.06) http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/mga...ting_1&ys=2020rs. There has yet to be a Committee vote on the bill, but that could change with your support.
There are a variety of ways for you to join others in these efforts. Below is a menu of suggested actions. Please sign up for News & Upcoming Actions at the Justice4MDSurvivors website: https://www.justice4mdsurvivors.org/. Please share the information in this email widely with your family, friends, and colleagues who might support the bill and encourage them to sign up for News & Upcoming Actions at the Justice4MDSurvivors website https://www.justice4mdsurvivors.org/. Survivors and allies alike welcome you in whatever capacity you can provide in helping with this important legislation. Please lend your support if you are able.
Suggested Ways That You Can Help Us Pass the Hidden Predators Act (HB974)- All Details on the Justice4MDSurvivors Website https://www.justice4mdsurvivors.org/
- Sign Up for News & Upcoming Actions at our Website – https://www.justice4mdsurvivors.org/
- Encourage Organizations to Sign On to the Organizational Letter of Support with their Logo –over 35 organizations have signed on to the letter of support. If you know of organizations that might be interested in signing on, please have them email their JPEG or PNG logo to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Social Media – Our partners at No More Stolen Childhoods have developed a social media campaign around the legislation. You can like/share their Facebook and twitter posts to help us expand our reach.
- Share our Factsheets – We have developed two factsheets (an infographic and legal issues summary) about the legislation that you can share with neighbors, friends and others on why Maryland needs to pass HPA.
- Email and Call your legislators – Email and call your State Delegates and Senator to support the legislation. You can find your representatives and their emails and phone numbers here. Here is how your Senator and your Delegates voted last year, so that you can have a general sense of their position on the legislation. (Note: because the bill didn’t get out of the Senate committee, the list only includes those Senators within the committee). Templates for emails and scripts for calls will be posted on the website: https://www.justice4mdsurvivors.org/.
- Senate Lobby Night – On Monday, March 16th from 5-8 pm, we will be coordinating a lobby night to advocate for the bill with Senators on the Judicial Proceedings Committee. If your Senator is in that committee, it would be particularly helpful to arrange an appointment as they prefer to hear from constituents. For more information or to attend, please sign up for news and alerts on our website: https://www.justice4mdsurvivors.org/ or email email@example.com. We had planned a vigil for the victims of child sexual abuse and a press conference to be coordinated with Senate Lobby Night, but are hoping to plan a virtual event due to safety plans around the coronavirus.