WASHINGTON D.C. (KAMR/KCIT) — Today, US Senator John Cornyn and a bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation to improve the treatment of FBI child victims, and witnesses, according to a news release from Cornyn’s office.
The Respect for Child Survivors Act, inspired by the Larry Nassar investigation, was introduced today by Senators Cornyn (R-TX), Chris Coons (D-DE), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) said the news release.
According to the news release, during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that examined the Inspector General’s Report on the FBI’s Handling of the Larry Nassar investigation, a victim testified of their treatment by the FBI personnel who interviewed her.
The news release states that the legislation, formulated with input from child welfare groups, looks at improving how the FBI handles child victims and witnesses by requiring trauma-informed experts to be a part of any interview of a victim who reports child abuse or trafficking to the FBI.
“It takes tremendous courage for young victims of sexual assault to tell their story and overcome the fear that they may not be taken seriously, may be ignored, or may be wrongfully blamed,” said Cornyn. “To avoid re-traumatizing victims during the investigation process, it’s imperative we give these individuals the support they need to ensure survivors feel respected during the interview process and abusers are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
The legislation states that victims would be interviewed by experts and require the FBI to use multidisciplinary teams when investigating child sexual abuse cases, child sexual abuse material cases, and child trafficking cases, including in situations where the interviewed victim is no longer a child.
The news release said the legislation received support from the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network, the National District Attorneys Association, the Army of Survivors, and the National Children’s Alliance.