Statement on Passage of Child Victims Act

NYS Bishops’ Statement on Passage of Child Victims Act Jan. 28, 2019

We pray that passage of the Child Victims Act brings some measure of healing to all survivors by offering them a path of recourse and reconciliation. The legislation now recognizes that child sexual abuse is an evil not just limited to one institution, but a tragic societal ill that must be addressed in every place where it exists.

Sadly, we in the Church know all too well the devastating toll of abuse on survivors, their families, and the extended community. Every Catholic diocese in New York has taken important steps to support survivors of child sexual abuse, including the implementation of reconciliation and compensation programs. We are proud that these pioneering programs have not only helped more than a thousand survivors of clergy abuse in New York, but have also become a model for how to help survivors in other states and in other institutions.

Now, we hope that this same type of survivor-centered approach, that puts the emphasis on healing, is available to all survivors, regardless of when the abuse occurred, or who their abuser was¬ whether it was a priest, a coach, a teacher, a doctor, or, as is all too common, a family member. We have long called for strengthening the Child Victims Act and will continue to advocate for the elimination of the criminal statute of limitations, compensations programs for those who prefer it to litigation, and mandatory safe environment training for anyone who works with children.

We thank the brave survivors who have told their stories of abuse in every sector of society. Their witness has moved us all. We renew our commitment to combatting the monstrous crime of childhood sexual abuse and helping all survivors find recourse and reconciliation as they heal.

Timothy Cardinal Dolan
Archbishop of New York

Most Rev. Salvatore R. Matano
Bishop of Rochester

Most Rev. Terry R. LaValley
Bishop of Ogdensburg

Most Rev. Edward B. Scharfenberger
Bishop of Albany

Most Rev. Nicholas DiMarzio
Bishop of Brooklyn

Most Rev. Richard J.Malone
shop of Buffalo

Most Rev. John O. Barres
Bishop of Rockville Centre

Most Rev. Robert J. Cunningham
Bishop of Syracuse

And the Auxiliary and Retired Bishops of New York State