Bill to protect victims of child abuse passes House, is on its way to the President's desk
WASHINGTON – Bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Victims of Child Abuse Act (VOCAA) passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support and is on its way to the president’s desk. The legislation provides funding for Children’s Advocacy Centers that serve child victims and help law enforcement hold perpetrators accountable.
“As the national association and accrediting body for Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs), NCA knows that this Act, funding the only federal program solely dedicated to developing CACs and improving the services they provide to kids that have been abused, is critical to the more than 330,000 children our member CACs serve each year. Once again, Congress shows, by reauthorizing and updating the Act, that it values the impact of the CAC model. Thanks to the 115th Congress, and especially our champions for children, for their leadership in making this program one that children can rely on,” said Teresa Huizar, Executive Director, National Children’s Alliance.
Children’s Advocacy Centers employ a multi-disciplinary team of trained professionals to conduct forensic interviews of children who have been victims of abuse. These interviews are designed to be admissible in court while also preventing children from being re-traumatized by having to tell their accounts multiple times. Use of Children’s Advocacy Centers leads to faster criminal charging decisions in sexual abuse cases, increased felony prosecutions of child sexual abuse, and lower average per-case costs.
The bill has garnered widespread support from the nation’s top advocacy groups, including the National Children’s Alliance, National Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, National Association of Police Organizations, National Sheriffs' Association, Fraternal Order of Police, and National District Attorneys Association. The bill is also backed by the Major County Sheriffs’ Association, the North East Regional Children’s Advocacy Center, the Midwest Regional Children’s Advocacy Center, the Western Regional Children’s Advocacy Center, the Sergeants Benevolent Association, the National Children’s Advocacy Center, and the Southern Regional Children’s Advocacy Center.