Cornyn Introduces the Jenna Quinn Law to Help Prevent Child Abuse
by John Cornyn on March 17, 2021 at 7:15 PM
Last week I 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 in Texas.
Training students, teachers, and caregivers to identify and prevent child sexual abuse saves lives, but not all states offer these critical programs. Jenna’s Law significantly increased the reporting of child sexual abuse in Texas, and I am proud to join with advocates like Jenna Quinn to enact these reforms nationally.
Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Mike Braun (R-IN) and Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) joined me on the 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 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 previously passed the U.S. Senate unanimously last September but stalled in the U.S. House after Committee on Education and Labor Chairman Bobby Scott decided to not allow this legislation to go to the House floor for a vote. The Jenna Quinn Law 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.