Senate passes child abuse prevention law co-authored by Sen. Cornyn

Senate passes child abuse prevention law co-authored by Sen. Cornyn
The U.S. Capitol Building is seen on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011. (Source: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

From Sen. John Cornyn’s Office

WASHINGTON, D.C. (News Release) - U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) released the following statements after the Senate passed the Jenna Quinn Law last night, which would allow current grant funds to be used to train and educate students, teachers, caregivers, and other adults who work with children in a professional or volunteer capacity on how to prevent, recognize, and report child sexual abuse. The bill is named for Jenna Quinn, a Texan and a child abuse survivor, and is modeled after successful reforms passed in Texas.

“The success of Jenna’s Law in Texas has shown that training teachers, caregivers, and students on how to recognize and report child sexual abuse saves lives, but many states do not have programs like this in place,” Sen. Cornyn said. “I’m proud to bring the Jenna Quinn Law to the national level and urge my colleagues in the House to quickly pass it to protect the lives of vulnerable children.”

“Every child has the fundamental right to be safe, to be treated with dignity, to be cared for, and to have the opportunity to seize their vast potential. Sexual abuse robs children of those rights,” Sen. Hassan said. “During my time as Governor of New Hampshire, I worked across the aisle to sign into law a bill that mandated that child abuse prevention be taught as part of the health education curriculum. I am proud to have worked with Senator Cornyn to strengthen these efforts on a national level by passing the Jenna Quinn Law through the Senate, and I urge my colleagues in the House to pass this important bipartisan bill without delay.”

Background:

Jenna Quinn has been an outspoken advocate for survivors of child sexual abuse and was the driving force behind what is now known as Jenna’s Law in Texas. Unanimously passed by the Texas State Senate and House, Jenna’s Law was the first child sexual abuse prevention law in the U.S. that mandates K-12 trainings for students and school staff and was amended in 2017 to include sex trafficking prevention education in schools. More than half of all states have adopted a form of Jenna’s Law.

After Jenna’s Law passed in Texas in 2009, a study found educators reported child sexual abuse at a rate almost four times greater after training than during their pre-training career.

The Jenna Quinn Law would:

  • Authorize federal grants to eligible entities for increasing evidence-based or informed training on sexual abuse prevention education and reporting to teachers and school employees, students, caregivers, and other adults who work with children.
  • Ensure these grant recipients coordinate with local educational agencies to train students, professionals and volunteers who work with students on sexual abuse prevention, recognition and reporting.

The Jenna Quinn Law is supported by the National Children’s Alliance, Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the National Sheriff’s Association, Darkness to Light, and TexProtects.

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