Encourages Community-Based Prevention Education and Training for Teachers, Caregivers, and Students
WASHINGTON- U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) 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,
“Child sexual abuse is a terrible crime that preys on the innocence of our most vulnerable, but it takes specialized training to identify and prevent the abuse,” Sen. Cornyn said. “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.”
“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,” Sen. Hassan said. “By encouraging states to provide training and education on child sexual abuse recognition and prevention, this bipartisan legislation will help keep our young people safe.”
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 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 states and CAPTA community-based grant recipients coordinate with local educational agencies to train professionals and volunteers who work with students on sexual abuse prevention, recognition, and reporting.
- Confirm 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.
- Encourage states to provide operational support, technical assistance and training to community-based and prevention-focused entities in the state to train teachers, school employees, and others who work with children preventing, recognizing, and reporting sexual abuse and exploitation.
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.