McCaul Introduces Bipartisan Jenna Quinn Law to Prevent, Recognize, and Report Child Abuse
by Michael McCaul on September 28, 2020 at 10:59 AM
I recently joined Representatives Susan Wild (PA-07), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05), Alcee Hastings (FL-20), and Ron Wright (TX-06) to introduce 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 on how to prevent, recognize, and report child sexual abuse. The bill, named for child abuse survivor Jenna Quinn, is a companion to legislation introduced in the Senate by U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) which passed the chamber last week.
Child sexual abuse is an affront to the fundamental dignity of our nation’s children. Sadly, it is far too prevalent in our communities and we have a duty to end the sexual abuse of children. In Texas, we’ve already witnessed how Jenna’s Law has protected our most vulnerable. That is why, I am proud to join my colleagues in elevating this law to the national level to ensure our teachers and caregivers have the resources they need to identify and report incidents of child sexual abuse.
“In Pennsylvania – and across the country – we’ve seen what happens when abuse goes unrecognized or unreported,” Wild said. “Living free from violence is a basic human right, and this is an important step to protecting the dignity of young children from abuse and neglect and alerting the proper authorities before it’s too late. I’m proud of this bipartisan legislation that makes commonsense investments in the health and safety of our children and empowers those around them to help stop child sexual abuse and protect vulnerable children.
“Jenna’s Law has made a difference for survivors of child sexual abuse in Texas by training teachers, caregivers, and students on how to prevent, recognize, and report it,” Cornyn said. “Now that this bill has passed the Senate, I’m grateful to my colleagues in the House for introducing it so the Jenna Quinn Law can soon become law and protect children nationwide.”
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, including Pennsylvania, 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 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.