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Wolf Urges Lawmakers To Pass Bills That Would Give Protections To Abuse Victims

The Wolf administration is calling on state lawmakers to pass a number of bills that have gone stagnant in the legislature. They're all related to giving more protections to victims of abuse.

One bill, a response to last year's death of Penn State student Timothy Piazza, would increase penalties for hazing. Another would force colleges and universities to grant amnesty to students who report sexual assault, even if they have been drinking or using drugs. A third would make domestic abusers give up all firearms and weapons when they enter a final protection from abuse order.

Governor Tom Wolf also wants the General Assembly to follow the recommendations of the statewide grand jury report into clergy sexual abuse. The commonwealth's Victim Advocate Jennifer Storm said the state's statute of limitations for such crimes should be extended.

"These reform measures will lift that veil of silence," Storm said. "And will enable each and every one of these individuals to have a proper court process by which they can seek justice."

The state House and Senate come back into session next week.

"Starting on Monday when they're back, and over the next few weeks, the General Assembly must make victims and all these reforms their top priority," Wolf said.

He said he hopes the conversation around the grand jury report and the #MeToo movement will create a sense of urgency to pass these bills.