WASHINGTON– U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) joined Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Chris Coons (D-DE) in introducing bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Victims of Child Abuse Act (VOCAA). The VOCAA provides funding for Children’s Advocacy Centers that serve child victims and help law enforcement hold perpetrators accountable. In 2014, Klobuchar cosponsored similar legislation to reauthorize the Victims of Child Abuse Program through 2018.

“As a former prosecutor, I know that child abuse is quite literally a life and death issue,” Klobuchar said. “For children who have experienced the horrors of abuse, Children’s Advocacy Centers provide a safe space to heal and dedicated staff who work with law enforcement to put criminals behind bars quickly and effectively—this bill will ensure that those centers can continue to serve the children who need their help most.”

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.

In addition to Klobuchar, Blunt and Coons, original Senate cosponsors include U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-IN) Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Richard Burr (R-NC), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI).

Klobuchar has been a leader in the fight to protect children from abuse and ensure that victims receive justice. Last year, Klobuchar’s bipartisan PROTECT Our Children Act was signed into law. The legislation reauthorizes the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force Program, a national network of 61 coordinated task forces, representing 3,500 federal, state, and local law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies that combat child exploitation across the country. In 2016, Klobuchar’s bipartisan Recovering Missing Children Act was signed into law to help recover missing and exploited children.