Pennsylvania is facing an important election in upcoming weeks.
Democratic candidate Kathleen Kane, past Lackawanna County district attorney and Republican candidate David Freed, who is currently Cumberland County’s district attorney, are running this year for state Attorney General.
Both candidates are addressing the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse case in their platforms.
These issues related to child abuse need to be handled with care — and that will depend on who gets into office.
Kane served in a child abuse/sexual assault unit as assistant district attorney.
And if she becomes Attorney General, she promises to make her office focus on being more proactive and less reactive to sexual abuse.
Still, both she and Freed agree on a key issue: lifting the statute of limitations. Currently, in Pennsylvania, you have until you’re 50 years old to bring criminal charges.
“You kill a child inside when you abuse them,” Kane said. “There isn’t a statute of limitations on murder. Why should there be for reporting sexual abuse?”
And she’s right.
The issue of sexual abuse — specifically child sexual abuse — has been pushed into the limelight in recent months.
We’ve seen how hard it’s been for people to come forward — and we’ve seen the effects it has on every single person involved.
There is hesitancy when dealing with sensitive issues such as sexual abuse, and it’s not out of the ordinary for people to take a longer time to come to terms with a darker past they’ve dealt with.
If a person wants to report their sexual abuse — even if only to get it off their chest — at age 75, then they should be able to.
It’s encouraging to see these two candidates, though hailing from two different parties, but still initiating positive change for the state of Pennsylvania.
Freed wants to also focus on education about sexual abuse. Education is the key to success in sexual abuse prevention.
Officials at universities and other institutions should be mandated to take seminars in identifying effects of sexual abuse and how to handle various sensitive situations that fall under this umbrella.
This includes cyber safety in relation to sexual abuse, which is becoming more of an issue as social media becomes more prevalent in our society.
Whoever is picked this year needs to follow through on their platform of proactiveness in regards to sexual abuse prevention. Whether its Kane’s four basic steps that include eliminating gaps in coverage of sex abuse and opening records of child sex abuse or Freed’s review of the Sandusky investigation documents, this election is an important one that moves the state forward in sexual abuse prevention.