WASHINGTON – To begin National Child
Abuse Awareness Month, Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley
(R-Iowa) joined Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) in introducing
a new bill to reauthorize the Victims of Child Abuse Act (VOCAA). The
law, first enacted in 1990, provides the only dedicated source of funding for
Children’s Advocacy Centers, which bring together teams of law enforcement,
medical personnel and service providers to ensure the best outcome for child
victims and help hold perpetrators responsible for their crimes.
“Victims of child abuse often face
lasting consequences from their trauma, and the perpetrators who rob these
innocent children of their sense of trust and safety must be held accountable.
That’s why my colleagues and I are working to reauthorize the Victims of Child Abuse Act, which funds
critical resources for protecting our children and bringing abusers to
justice,” Grassley said.
As ranking member and chairman of the
Judiciary Committee, Grassley has previously played an important role in
reauthorizing VOCAA – most recently in 2014
– pointing to the value of child advocacy centers. By improving coordination
among police, doctors and service providers, they have allowed for faster
criminal charging decisions in sexual abuse cases, increased felony
prosecutions of child sexual abuse and lower average case costs.
The bill has garnered widespread support
from law enforcement groups, including the Fraternal Order of Police, National
District Attorneys Association, National Association of Police Organizations,
Major County Sheriffs of America, Major Cities Chiefs Association and Sergeants
Benevolent Association NYPD.
The bill is also endorsed by child
advocacy groups, including the National Children’s Alliance, National
Children’s Advocacy Center, Northeast Regional Children’s Advocacy Center,
Midwest Regional Children’s Advocacy Center, Western Regional Children’s
Advocacy Center and Southern Regional Children’s Advocacy Center.
Additional cosponsors of the bill include
Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), John Cornyn (R-Texas),
Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.),
Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.). Companion
legislation will soon be introduced in the House by Reps. Jim Costa (D-Calif.),
Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) and Ann Wagner (R-Mo.).
The full bill text can be found by