Judiciary Committee approves sessions-led bipartisan effort to protect victims of child abuse

Published 06/16 2014 03:47PM

Updated 06/16 2014 03:52PM

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement today after the Judiciary Committee approved the reauthorization of the Victims of Child Abuse Act (VOCAA). Sessions introduced the VOCAA along with his colleagues Sens. Chris Coons (D-DE), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Roy Blunt (R-MO):

“I am pleased to see that the Senate Judiciary Committee has reauthorized the Victims of Child Abuse Act. This important legislation provides funding for local Children’s Advocacy Centers which—from its inception in Huntsville more than two decades ago—have played a critical role in investigating these unspeakable crimes and providing the necessary care to the victims. There is nothing more important than protecting our nation’s youth. I am grateful to Senators Coons, Hirono, and Blunt for their leadership in this effort.”

The Victims of Child Abuse Act provides funding to local Child Advocacy Centers (CAC) across the nation, as well as the Regional Children’s Advocacy Center programs, the National Children’s Alliance, the National Children’s Advocacy Center and other programs serving child abuse victims. The Congressional Budget Office released an informal overview stating that it would not have a budgetary impact on spending or revenue. CACs take a multi-disciplinary approach to responding to child abuse by coordinating the efforts of medical, mental health, victim advocacy, law enforcement, and prosecutorial agencies. In the 1980s, former Congressman Robert “Bud” Cramer, Jr. of Alabama recognized the urgent need for improved responses to child abuse and Cramer (then a District Attorney) helped found the first CAC in Huntsville. Due to the enormous difference they’ve made, CACs have expanded to over 850 locations across the county.

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