U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement after the Senate unanimously reauthorized the Victims of Child Abuse Act (VOCAA). This bipartisan reauthorization was introduced in December by Sen. Sessions and his colleagues Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Roy Blunt (R-MO):
Sen. Sessions: "I am pleased that the full Senate has reauthorized the Victims of Child Abuse Act. Children's Advocacy Centers, from their inception in Huntsville, have played a critical role in providing the necessary resources to aid victims of child abuse and investigate these incredibly serious crimes. There is no higher duty than protecting our nation's children and this bill is an important step to ensure the most vulnerable children receive the care and support they deserve. I would like to thank my colleagues, Senators Coons, Hirono, and Blunt for their commitment to this effort."
Sen. Coons: "We have a responsibility to protect our children from violence and abuse. Though we can't prevent every tragedy, we can make sure that children and families have the resources they need to heal and obtain justice. Children's Advocacy Centers bring all of these resources together under one roof for one mission -- to deliver justice for children. Demand for these services has only grown since the Victims of Child Abuse Act was enacted more than two decades ago. Children's Advocacy Centers served close to 300,000 children last year and 1,000 communities still have no access to a center when a child is the victim of a serious crime. I am grateful that the Senate has finally come together to reauthorize this vital program, and look forward to working with my colleagues in the House to get a bill to President Obama for his signature."
Sen. Hirono: "I was pleased to join this bipartisan effort with Senators Coons, Blunt and Sessions to pass the Victims of Child Abuse Act. This critical bill will help give all keiki, or children, the best possible start in life by providing protections for those who are victims of violence and abuse."
Sen. Blunt: "Our state has 22 Children's Advocacy Centers that serve 7,000 of our state's most vulnerable children each year by coordinating the investigation, treatment, and prosecution of child abuse cases. I was honored to receive the Missouri KidsFirst's "Standing with Children' Award, and I'm pleased the Senate passed this important bill. I urge my House colleagues to act so we can continue providing a safe haven for child abuse victims and help law enforcement hold perpetrators accountable."
Sens. Sessions and Coons published a recent joint op-ed entitled "Congress Must Stand Up For Victims Of Child Abuse And Reauthorize Children's Advocacy Centers" which appeared in the Huntsville Times highlighting the importance of this legislation.