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Federal Legislation

The Jenna Quinn Law S. 924

Sponsored by Senator John Cornyn (TX) and Senator Maggie Hassan (NH) 


Community based education and training for teachers, caregivers, and students to prevent child sexual abuse. 


“Jenna’s Law has had a profound impact on the reporting of child sexual abuse in Texas, and I’m proud to introduce this successful law on a national level.”   

- Senator John Cornyn


“To better protect children from sexual abuse, we must ensure that teachers, caregivers, and other adults working with children are equipped with the tools and knowledge to prevent, recognize, and report sexual abuse and exploitation, and to ensure that children receive appropriate education on how to recognize and report these heinous acts." - Senator Maggie Hassan


Background:


  • The American Medical Association labeled child sexual abuse a “silent epidemic” since it’s one of the most underreported crimes. The Center for Disease Control states child sexual abuse is a public health problem and a solution is prevention education.
  • 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before the age of 18. (1) 
  • Children with disabilities are three times more likely to be victims of sexual abuse. (2)
  • There are an estimated 42 million survivors of sexual abuse in America alone. (3)
  • Over 90 percent of children who are victims of sexual abuse know and trust their abuser. (4)
  • The average lifetime cost per victim of child abuse is $830,928, costing the U.S an Estimated $428 billion annually. These expenses are largely paid for by the public sector. Costs include: healthcare, criminal justice, child welfare, special education costs, and productivity losses. (5)
  •  School personnel identify 52 percent of all identified child abuse cases classified as causing harm to the child, more than any other profession or organizational type, including child protective services agencies and the police. (6)
  • Most child sexual abuse can be prevented through education combined with a comprehensive set of prevention policies.
  • After Jenna’s Law passed in 2009 in Texas, a study found that following training, educators reported abuse at a rate almost 4 times greater than in their pre-training career. (7)


The Jenna Quinn Law 


  • Authorizes 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.
  • Ensures States and CAPTA Community Based Grant recipients coordinate with local education agencies to train professionals and volunteers who work with students on sexual abuse prevention, recognition and reporting. 
  •  Confirms States not only have provisions and procedures in place for an individual to report sexual abuse, but also procedures for individuals to prevent sexual abuse and recognize the signs of that abuse.
  • Encourages states to provide operational support, technical assistance, and training to community-based prevention focused entities in the state to prevent, recognize, and report sexual abuse. 


 " Jenna Quinn has been an outspoken advocate for survivors of child sexual abuse and was the driving force behind what is 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."  - Senator John Cornyn


    

(1) National Child Traumatic Stress Network.

(2) Lund, Emily M., and Vaughn-Jensen, J. (2012). “Victimization of Children with Disabilities.” The Lancet, Volume 380 (Issue 9845), 867-869.

(3) National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse.

(4) U.S Department of Justice.

(5) Source: Peterson, C., Florence, C., & Klevens, J. (2018). The economic burden of child maltreatment in the United States, 2015. Child Abuse & Neglect, 86,178-183.

(6) Sedlak, A.J., Mettenburg, J., Basena, M., Petta, I., McPherson, K., Greene, A., and Li, S. (2010).

(7) Darkness to Light.