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NHCADSV Statement on the Diocese of Manchester’s Recent Publication of Names of Priests Who Sexually Abused Children
By acknowledging decades of child sexual abuse and publishing the names of known predators within their institution, the Diocese of Manchester is taking a step towards accountability. For accountability to truly be achieved and for victims and survivors to truly find healing, we must also eliminate the statutes of limitations on these crimes that prohibit survivors from seeking justice once they have decided they are ready to report the abuse they’ve experienced. We recognize that this update form the Manchester Diocese could be difficult to process and a reminder of the traumas that survivors have endured. To all survivors of these crimes, we are with you.
“The reality is that the average age that a survivor of child sexual abuse discloses their experience is 52-years-old. Disclosures of abuse do not fit into artificial timelines, and we believe that every survivor should have the right to seek justice no matter how much time has passed since the abuse occurred. It’s clear that laws in New Hampshire must be reformed in order to protect victims of sexual abuse and to hold their offenders accountable. Specifically, we must work to abolish the statute of limitations in sexual abuse cases, and we hope to have the support of the Diocese of Manchester in advocating for these necessary policy changes. We look forward to working with policymakers and stakeholders, including the Diocese of Manchester, to begin discussions around how to best bring forward these necessary reforms in New Hampshire. True accountability and healing cannot take place while statutes of limitations on sexual violence still exist.” – Amanda Grady Sexton, Director of Public Affairs, NHCADSV.
We encourage the Diocese of Manchester to ensure that survivors are connected to their local domestic and sexual violence crisis center to receive confidential, trauma-informed support. We know that oftentimes survivors of clergy sexual abuse are not comfortable seeking support from the institution where they were victimized, and it is critical that they are connected to independent victim advocacy organizations.
Crisis center advocates are available 24/7 across NH to provide free and confidential support to anyone impacted by domestic or sexual violence – you do not need to be in crisis to call. To speak with a confidential advocate in your community, please call the statewide sexual assault hotline at 1-800-277-5570 or find the crisis center nearest you at https://www.nhcadsv.org/member-programs.html.
The New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence is a statewide network of 13 independent member programs committed to ending sexual violence, domestic violence, and stalking, through direct services to victims, community education, and public policy advocacy. The NHCADSV and its 13 member programs do not discriminate based on gender, age, health status (including HIV-positive), physical, mental, or emotional ability, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, socio-economic status, race, national origin, immigration status, or religious or political affiliation. For more information visit www.nhcadsv.org.