UPDATE ON THE SIGNING OF THE CHILD VICTIMS ACT: "We pray that the Child Victims Act will help bring some measure of healing to all survivors of child sex abuse by offering them a path to reconciliation, not just in the Church, but across our entire society as we confront this horrible evil. The Catholic Church had long called for strengthening the final Child Victims Act to include all institutions--ensuring that all survivors, not just some, have the same opportunities for recourse as they work to heal from the terrible trauma they suffered. The Catholic Church will continue to support policies and programs that put survivors first as they look to move forward with their lives." (The Catholic Conference represents the Bishops of New York State in public policy matters)
The following statement was released by the Catholic bishops of New York state following the passage of the Child Victims Act. For more, visit http://www.nyscatholic.org
We pray that the 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 well 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, as we have implemented in the eight dioceses throughout New York State.
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. Edward B. Scharfenberger
Bishop of Albany
Most Rev. Nicholas DiMarzio
Bishop of Brooklyn
Most Rev. Richard J. Malone
Bishop of Buffalo
Most Rev. Terry R. LaValley
Bishop of Ogdensburg
Most Rev. Salvatore R. Matano
Bishop of Rochester
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