Cornyn, Colleagues’ Bill to Help Prevent Child Abuse Passes Senate
Bill Encourages Community-Based Prevention Education and Training for Teachers, Caregivers, and Students
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) released the following statements after their Jenna Quinn Law, 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, passed the Senate. The bill is named for Jenna Quinn, a Texan and child abuse survivor, and is modeled after successful reforms passed by the Texas Legislature in 2009.
“Congress must ensure every state has robust resources to train those who work with our children on how to identify and prevent the vicious cycle of child sexual abuse,” said Sen. Cornyn. “This legislation, inspired by Texan Jenna Quinn, would give students, teachers, and caregivers more tools to protect vulnerable children nationwide, and I urge my colleagues in the House to pass it without delay.”
“We must work together to prevent the sexual abuse of children,” said Sen. Hassan. “I was proud to help introduce this bipartisan legislation that provides people who work with children the training that they need to prevent, recognize, and report child sexual abuse, and am glad to see its pass unanimously in the Senate. I urge my colleagues in the House to help us keep children safe by supporting this commonsense bill.”
“Every child deserves protection from abuse. Ensuring all adults, teachers, and caregivers are equipped with the knowledge to identify, prevent, and report child sexual abuse is a necessary and life-saving mechanism,” said Sen. Luján. “Jenna’s Law is implemented across several states – including New Mexico – and should be federally recognized. I’m proud to see this bipartisan legislation passed the Senate, bringing us one step closer to providing funding to train and educate students, teachers, and parents on best practices to prevent and report abuse.”
Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) also cosponsored this legislation.
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 Legislature, Jenna’s Law was the first child sexual abuse prevention law in the U.S. named after a survivor 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, which passed the Senate unanimously last Congress, 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.