Cornyn, Colleagues Introduce the Jenna Quinn Law to Help Prevent Child Abuse
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), Mike Braun (R-IN), and Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) today introduced the 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. 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.
“All states should have the resources to invest in programs that help prevent the vicious cycle of child sexual abuse, but unfortunately, that is not always the case,” said Sen. Cornyn. “Our bill, inspired by Texan Jenna Quinn, would help increase reporting of child sexual abuse by expanding training programs for students, teachers, and caregivers to identify and help combat this harrowing epidemic nationwide.”
“We need to work together to prevent child abuse,” said Sen. Hassan. “The Jenna Quinn Law provides critical funding to support the education of students, teachers, caregivers, and individuals who work with children so that they can identify the signs of sexual abuse and report it. This law will keep more children safe, and I urge my colleagues to join Senator Cornyn and me in supporting it.”
“Anyone that works with children should be trained on how to prevent, recognize and report child sexual abuse,” said Sen. Braun. “I urge my colleagues to quickly pass this vital legislation out of the Senate.”
“Our country must remain focused on protecting our children and preventing abuse,” said Sen. Luján. “Every adult, teacher, and caregiver that works with children must be equipped with the knowledge to identify, prevent, and report child sexual abuse, something New Mexico state law mandates for all K-12 school personnel, contractors and volunteers. That’s why I’m joining my colleagues to reintroduce bipartisan legislation to amend the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) to provide funding to train and educate students, teachers and parents on best practices to prevent and report abuse.”
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. 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 previously passed the Senate unanimously last September, 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.