Costa’s Victims of Child Abuse Reauthorization Act Headed to President’s Desk

WASHINGTON, DC- On December 11, 2013, Congressman Costa (D-CA) introduced H.R. 3706, the Victims of Child Abuse Act Reauthorization Act of 2013.  A companion bill, S.1799, was introduced by Senator Coons (D-DE) in the Senate. With the Senate approving the companion bill and House concurrence, Costa’s legislation is now headed to the President’s desk for signature.

“The sexual exploitation of children is a horrific crime that devastates lives indiscriminately.  It is our responsibility to do all we can to protect our children from sexual predators,” said Rep. Costa.  “The Victims of Child Abuse Act Reauthorization Act of 2013 will provide those who protect and advocate for our children with the tools necessary to help survivors of sexual abuse.”

The Victims of Child Abuse Act Reauthorization Act of 2013 provides funding for children's advocacy centers and the development and implementation of multi-disciplinary child abuse investigation and prosecution programs. In addition, funding is made available to national organizations that provide technical assistance and training to attorneys and others instrumental to the criminal prosecution of child abuse cases.    

“By passing this vital piece of legislation, Congress has ensured that children’s advocacy centers can continue to assist victims of sexual abuse and provide them with the resources needed to cope with their ordeal and ultimately, live happy lives,”continued Costa.

Funds from the act go directly to local Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) that are public-private partnerships aimed at bringing together local law enforcement, prosecutors, child protective services, and medical professionals involved in investigating cases of child abuse.

Community Action Partnership of Madera County Executive Director Mattie Mendez added, “Community Action Partnership of Madera County would like to thank the President and Congress for supporting Children Advocacy Centers throughout the county by the Reauthorizing the Victims of Child Abuse Act (VOCAA).  With VOCAA funding CAPMC can employ Victim Advocates who support victims of physical and sexual abuse during the most horrific time of their lives.  The Sexual Assault Advocate and Victim Services Program Manager facilitate the Madera County Child Forensic Interview Team (CFIT) consisting of agency leaders, stakeholders and direct staff that have a role in responding to allegations of child sexual assault to support the victim by sharing their expertise to obtain the best outcome for the victim’s wellness. As a team we inform each other on resources that can meet the victim’s immediate and long term needs, as well as resources to support the victim’s non offending family members. This funding will assist in the growing demands for services in Madera County and training of staff.”   

As co-chair and co-founder of the Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus, Costa has been instrumental in bringing the issue of crime victims’ rights to the forefront in Congress. The mission of the Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus is to elevate crime victim issues in Congress in a bipartisan manner without infringing on the rights of the accused and to represent and to advocate before the Administration and within Congress on behalf of crime victims.