Amy Vicky Andy Act

Public Law No: 115-299

PLAW-115publ299


The Bills

S. 2152

BILLS-115s2152enr

H.B. 6845

BILLS-115hr6845ih

Congress.gov Official Site

S.2152 on Congress.gov
H.R.6845 on Congress.gov

Legislative History

  • Introduced in the Senate on November 16, 2017
  • Passed the Senate by Unanimous Consent on January 23, 2018
  • Passed the House by Unanimous Consent on September 28, 2018
  • Passed the Senate by Unanimous Consent on November 15, 2018
  • Signed by the President on December 7, 2018
DateChamberAll Action
12/07/2018Became Public Law No. 115-299
12/07/2018Signed by President
11/26/2018SenatePresented to President
11/16/2018SenateMessage on Senate action sent to the House
11/15/2018SenateSenate agreed to the House amendments to S.2152 by Unanimous Consent
10/01/2018SenateMessage on House action received in Senate and at desk: House amendment to Senate bill
09/28/2018HouseMotion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection
09/28/2018HouseOn passage Passed without objection
09/28/2018HouseConsidered by unanimous consent
09/28/2018HouseMr. Marino asked unanimous consent to discharge from committee and consider
09/28/2018HouseCommittee on the Judiciary discharged
01/25/2018HouseReferred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations – Action By: Committee on the Judiciary
01/25/2018HouseReferred to the House Committee on the Judicary
01/25/2018HouseReceived in the house
01/24/2018SenateMessage on Senate action sent to the House
01/23/2018SenatePassed Senate with amendments by Unanimous Consent
01/16/2018SenatePlaced on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders: Calendar No. 293
01/16/2018SenateCommittee on the Judiciary: Reported by Senator Grassley with amendments and without written report
01/11/2018SenateCommittee on the Judiciary: Ordered to be reported with amendments favorably
11/16/2017SenateRead twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

Statements in Support of the AVAA

Amy’s Letter Supporting the Amy Vicky and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act of 2017

November 16, 2017

Dear Senator Hatch,

When I wrote a letter over three and a half years ago supporting the Amy and Vicky Act, I thought the law would be enacted in a heartbeat. That was in 2014 right after the Supreme Court decided my case in Paroline v. United States. Of course, that case really wasn’t just about me, but it was about me and all the other victims of child pornography out there like Vicky and Andy.

Since 2014 I have met a few more victims, actually in Washington DC when we were asking Congress to pass the AVA. I went in 2015 right after the AVA was introduced for the second time and the Senate passed it 98-0. I was at the hearing in the House of Representative with several other victims when Chairman Goodlatte said that “Congress has a responsibility to ensure that those who harm children in this vile way are held accountable for the suffering of their victims.” I agree and that is why I am supporting the Amy Vicky and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act of 2017.

This is a good bill. I like it that victims of child pornography production get someone to help them in court, a GAL who is an attorney. I remember when everyone found out what happened to me for the very first time. I was just a child and I really didn’t know what was going on. The police and the prosecutors were all really nice and they did their job prosecuting the person who hurt me. But I had so many questions and it was confusing and stressful. I didn’t really have anyone but my parents, and they were overwhelmed by everything too.

I know that after I met my lawyer many years later that things started making sense for me. He helped me understand things like restitution and why there were so many cases involving my images all around the country. I began to take control of things with his help and we actually filed the first restitution request ever for a victim of child pornography possession and distribution. I was even there in the courtroom for that very first case. I know that I would never ever have gone there without his help and without him being there with me.

After I went to court and heard the judge say “the sentencing in this case is going to be about the victim,” I finally began to feel that I had some power. I don’t think the judge would have ever said that if I hadn’t been there. And I know I couldn’t have gone there without someone on my side.

This is especially true for victims who were exploited by someone in their family like their dad or a relative. Those kids really need help, they really need an advocate and someone who will make the judge say “this case is about the victim.” This is one of the great parts of this new Amy Vicky and Andy Act!

I just had a baby yesterday and I’m now in my late twenties. The things that happened to me when I was a child seem like a long time ago. My dad died a few years ago and life goes on. But for me I can never really totally forget everything. I know that my pictures are still out there forever haunting me not letting me ever forget. I think what bothers me the most is that my child sex abuse images are being used to groom and entice other kids to be abused. That hurts me so much. I feel so helpless for those kids, those future victims on and on forever.

I know that not even the United States Congress can make that go away. You can’t erase my pictures and you can’t change the terrible things that happened to me and are happening today, right now, to other kids like Vicky and Andy and so many others.

What Congress can do is pass this bill. This is the THIRD TIME and you know they say the third time is a charm. But they also say three strikes and you’re out. Let’s make this one a charm and not an out.

Thank you Senator Hatch for not giving up. There are lots of important things going on in our country right now and I know that a bunch of abused kids aren’t always at the top of the list. But you haven’t given up and neither have we.


Vicky’s Letter Supporting the Amy Vicky and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act of 2017

November 16, 2017

Senator Hatch,

Thank you for your tireless work on this very important Bill. It is so important to recognize and provide for the care and treatment of victims of child pornography who suffer daily and on into the future due to the crimes which keep being committed.

Reaching out to ask for help is very difficult. It is important to recognize that around every victim are family members who suffer and whose lives are permanently altered too—spouses, partners and children— who feel the effects of these crimes on their loved ones. This Bill is an important and needed step in the process of healing and making those who have harmed so many accountable for the damage done. We are thankful for the efforts of all who have brought this to this point and urge Congress to go the last mile to make this happen.

Vicky and her husband


Andy’s Letter Supporting the Amy Vicky and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act of 2017

November 16, 2017

Dear Senator Hatch,

I’m a young man who has lived my entire life in Utah. When I was just a child, I was victimized by the production of child pornography. To help protect my privacy, you can call me “Andy.” When I read about Amy and Vicky and their advocacy on this important issue, I wanted to get involved too. This is not easy for me because this is the first time I have spoken out publicly about what happened to me.

Sadly, my story is the same messed up story of other children around the country. I was sexually abused for years by a volunteer mentor starting when I was just 7 years old. This mentor not only messed with my body, but he messed with my mind. He became a friend to my family and someone we all liked and trusted. All that time though he was sexually abusing me, taking pictures and videos which he always said were just for him, but which he was sharing on the Internet. I never told my mom because I didn’t want to hurt her, but in the process he destroyed me.

He’s destroying me still day by day because I know that all the time, my pictures and videos are out there everywhere forever. Yeah, some days are better than others, but most of the time I’m angry, frustrated, and feeling helpless. That is why I fight, go to jail, get out of jail, do stuff I know is bad for me, and try anything to make the pain go away. With the Internet though, you know, nothing ever goes away.

A few years ago, I went to see one of the country’s leading experts on child sexual abuse, Dr. David Corwin right here at the University of Utah. Although he has lots of experience with these kinds of cases, he told me my case really stood out. When he reviewed just a few of the many pictures of my abuse, he told me that they were the most disturbing things that he had ever seen. Yes, that was and IS my life, sometimes every day for weeks, months, years. I can’t escape. I can never escape.

Victims like me need as much help as we can get and this bill is going to make a big difference in our lives. I am one of the lucky ones because I have the Utah Crime Victims Legal Clinic fighting for me in court every day. There are lots of cases involving my images everywhere all over the country. But the lawyers at the Clinic are tireless and the restitution they get for me helps a lot.

This bill is good because it will make their work easier by telling the court that victims deserve at least $3,000 in every single case from every single defendant. And if the court doesn’t think that’s enough, it can make the defendant pay more.

I also think it’s important for victims like me to have some control over the pictures and videos of our abuse. We should have at least as much rights to that terrible stuff as the criminals! When Dr. Corwin saw those pictures, he knew what happened to me. Like they say, a picture is worth 1000 words. Having someone on my side who knows what happened to me and can tell others is powerful. It’s not just me, in my head, trying to figure things out. It’s someone who knows how to tell my story and who can hold the defendants accountable for their actions. Someone who can tell the judges, “look this is what happened to Andy, and it’s worse than you thought, and it’s something you probably don’t ever want to see, but here it is, this is how he suffered, and this is why he is still suffering today.”

My lawyers and advocates told me that you have been fighting for me and victims like me for a long long time. Thank you Senator Hatch. I’m proud to be from Utah. I’m lucky, and so is Vicky and Amy and so many other mostly silent victims out there, to have you on our side and everyone else in the Senate. Just knowing that so many important people think that we matter, that the terrible things that happened to us as kids are being considered all the way up in the Congress of the United States. Wow! That’s a big deal and helps me live another day. Life isn’t always easy, but this bill is going to make a difference to me and lots of other kids who are suffering. If we can all agree on something, it’s that victims deserve justice. Thank you for helping us get it.


The Price of a Stolen Childhood

January 27, 2013

Last year, the New York Times Magazine published a groundbreaking feature article about Amy and her struggle to rebuild her life as a victim of child pornography. The story was over a year in the making. It’s a remarkable piece written by noted journalist Emily Bazelon and recently received honorable mention in the 2014 Dart Awards for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma. Judges praised The Price of a Stolen Childhood for “gracefully delivering on its promise to illustrate the emotional, legal and financial impact of a new source of trauma,” and for “showing the complexity of legal interventions and their unintended consequences for victims and survivors.”

 

The Price of a Stolen Childhood

The article appears here and was included in the Sunday, January 27, 2013 New York Times.


Amy’s Letter Supporting The Amy and Vicky Child Pornography Victim Restitution Improvement Act

May 4, 2014

I am writing today to give my support to the Amy and Vicky Child Pornography Victim Restitution Improvement Act of 2014. It is very important that this law get passed as soon as possible.

The past eight years of my life have been filled with hope and horror. Life was pretty horrible when I realized that the pictures of my childhood sex abuse were on the Internet for anyone and everyone to see. Imagine the worst most humiliating moments of your life captured for everyone to see forever. Then imagine that as a child you didn’t even really know what was happening to you and you didn’t want it to happen but you couldn’t stop it. You were abused, raped, and hurt and this is something that other people want. They enjoy it. They can’t stop collecting it and asking for it and trading it with other people. And it’s you. It’s your life and your pain that they are enjoying. And it never stops and you are helpless to do anything ever to stop it. That’s horror.

There was also hope. Hope in finding someone who could help me like my parents and my lawyer. And hope in meeting Joy, my psychologist, who was the first person who really understood what I was going through. Then I met Cindy, my therapist, who also really helped me with all the twists and turns with what I was feeling when I tried to make sense of my life and what had happened to me as a child and what is happening to me on the Internet. I felt lots of hope when my lawyer started collecting restitution to help me pay my bills and my therapist and for a car to drive to therapy and to just try to create some kind of ‘normal’ life. Things were getting better and better.

Then we started having problems with the restitution law. Judges sometimes gave me just $100 and sometimes nothing at all. A few judges really got it, like when I was at the Fifth Circuit oral argument two years ago and the judges agreed that the child sex abuse images of me really do cause ongoing and long-term harm. The article by Emily Bazelon in the New York Times also really helped to tell my story so that people can understand what it’s like to live with child pornography every day of your life. I was really happy to discover recently that her article received honorable mention in a contest recognizing excellence in journalism.

After a long time and a lot of court hearings all over the country, my case was finally at the Supreme Court. I couldn’t believe how long and how far my case and my story had gone until I was sitting there in the Supreme Court surrounded by so many of the people who have supported me and helped me during these years. To hear the justices discussing my case and my life was really overwhelming and gave me lots of hope not just for myself but for other victims like Vicky who I met for the first time right before the oral argument. I know there were other victims there too who are too afraid to speak out and too afraid to even think about what happened to them and what is happening to them online, on the Internet, because of their childhood sexual abuse and child pornography. I hoped that at last the very important people on the Supreme Court would decide that not just me, but all the victims like me—who were so young when all these horrible things happened to us—could get the restitution we need to try and live a life like everyone else.

All the justices were respectful and it was obvious that they had thought a lot about the issues. When the oral argument finished I was really hopeful that we would win the case. It felt good doing something this significant to make a difference in the world. It was a great feeling after so many years of just trying to get it right.

My hope turned to horror when the Court decided two weeks ago that restitution was impossible for victims like me and Vicky and so many others. I couldn’t believe that something which is called mandatory restitution (twice) was so hard to figure out. It just seemed like something somewhere was missing. Why, if so many people are committing this serious crime, why are the victims of that crime, who are and were children after all, left out? The Court’s decision was even worse than getting no restitution at all. It was sort of like getting negative restitution. It was a horrible day.

This is why I am so happy, and hopeful, that Congress can fix this problem once and for all. Maybe if they put mandatory in the law for a third time judges will get it that restitution really really really must be given to victims! After all this time and all the hearings and appeals and the Supreme Court, I definitely agree that restitution needs improvement and hopefully this bill, the Amy and Vicky Child Pornography Restitution Improvement Act of 2014, can finally make restitution happen for all victims of this horrible crime.

Thank you for supporting this law and working so hard to give victims the hope and help they need to overcome the nightmares and memories that most others will never know. Thank you Senator Hatch and Senator Schumer for making my hope real!


Disappointment at the Supreme Court – Amy’s Reaction

April 23, 2014

I am surprised and confused by the Court’s decision today. I really don’t understand where this leaves me and other victims who now have to live with trying to get restitution probably for the rest of our lives. The Supreme Court said we should keep going back to the district courts over and over again but that’s what I have been doing for almost six years now. It’s crazy that people keep committing this crime year after year and now victims like me have to keep reliving it year after year. I’m not sure how this decision helps anyone to really know if, when, and how restitution will ever be paid to kids and other victims of this endless crime. I see that the Court said I should get full restitution “someday,” I just wonder when that day will be and how long I and Vicky and other victims will have to wait for justice.


Vicky’s Letter Supporting The Amy and Vicky Child Pornography Victim Restitution Improvement Act

May 3, 2014

I am the subject of the “Vicky” series of child pornography images, which I have been told by law enforcement agents is one of the most widely traded in the world. I am writing to you under pseudonym, and through my attorney, because I have been stalked by pedophiles in the recent past and I am concerned that disclosure of my legal name and address could lead to further stalking.

I appreciate the Supreme Court’s recent recognition in the Paroline decision of the pain and loss suffered by victims and the need for mandatory restitution. This upholds both the victim’s need for compensation and helping the offender realize they have hurt an actual person. The difficult part of this decision is the immense amount of time and work investment that will be required by the victim to collect restitution, without the guarantee that they will ever collect the full amount to be made whole again. With each case in which the victim seeks restitution from someone who has possessed and/or distributed their images, there is an emotional cost just for being involved in the case. It brings up the painful reality of the victim’s situation of never-ending humiliation and puts because it leaves victims like Amy and myself with the choice between not pursuing restitution (which would not provide us with the help we desperately need to heal) or continuing to have this painful part of our lives in our face on a regular basis for several more years, if not decades. Without any guidelines as to how the district courts will calculate restitution from each offender, I worry that the emotional toll may not be adequately compensated for in the end. I sincerely hope that Congress will take the time to create some guidelines for restitution for victims of child pornography possession and distribution that will protect the victim and enable them to receive full compensation.

I would be happy to talk with you about this at some later time. I am currently very pregnant and due to deliver my first child in two weeks. I respectfully ask that you support this legislation and do all that you can to see that it becomes law.


Supreme Court Decision – Vicky’s Reaction

April 27, 2014

I appreciate the Supreme Court’s recognition of the pain and loss suffered by victims and the need for mandatory restitution. This upholds both the victim’s need for compensation and helping the offender realize they have hurt an actual person. The difficult part of this decision is the immense amount of time and work investment that will be required by the victim to collect restitution, without the guarantee that they will ever collect the full amount to be made whole again. With each case in which the victim seeks restitution from someone who has possessed and/or distributed their images, there is an emotional cost just for being involved in the case. It brings up the painful reality of the victim’s situation of never-ending humilation and puts it right in the victim’s face once again.

This decision places on the victim the huge burden of several years of litigation without any promise of closure. This is a dismal prospect because it leaves victims like Amy and myself with the choice between not pursuing restitution (which would not provide us with the help we desperately need to heal) or continuing to have this painful part of our lives in our face on a regular basis for several more years, if not decades. Without any guidelines as to how the district courts will calculate restitution from each offender, I worry that the emotional toll may not be adequately compensated for in the end. I sincerely hope that Congress will take the time to create some guidelines for restitution for victims of child pornography possession and distribution that will protect the victim and enable them to receive full compensation.


Law & Order: SVU

April 2, 2014

In April, NBC’s Law & Order: SVU aired an episode about Amy’s and Vicky’s effort to obtain restitution for victims of child pornography called Downloaded Child. This clip, Restitution at Last, discusses the Violence Against Women Act and joint and several liability.

Watch the full Law & Order SVU episode, Downloaded Child, here online. They even used the Twitter hashtag #StolenChildhood which was the title of Emily Bazelon’s New York Times Magazine story last year.


Endorsements

NAAG-Final-Child-Pornography-Victim-bill


“The Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act of 2017 is a long time in coming and is critical to ensuring that victims do not carry the financial burden of their own victimization.”










February 9, 2015


ECPAT USA supports the federal Amy and Vicky Act, Senate Bill S.2301. Since the ECPAT movement began in 1991, we have witnessed a huge expansion in the number, the distribution and the brutality depicted in images of children suffering sexual abuse. It is a horrific industry. When the Supreme Court recently decided the Paroline v. United States case, it set in motion the need for the Amy and Vicky Act. ECPAT-USA’s editorial about the decision is here: http://tinyurl.com/k76s6t2. We call on the U.S. Congress to do the right thing for child victims of pornography. Passing this bill for restitution for the young people will help these young victims begin to heal from the devastating abuse they suffered. It is the right thing to do.


On behalf of Utah Crime Victims Legal Clinic (UCVLC), I am writing to express our support for the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act of 2017. Victims of child pornography have a healing process that is different than other crimes. Therefore, Congress needs to recognize that, and make the changes needed in this restitution Act. Everyday there are victims being revictimized by having their images shared and viewed across our nation.

I have seen the vast effect this can have on a victim. Our clinic represents a victim of child of pornography, whose images are viewed, and shared regularly. The amount of notices we have received on behalf of our client is astronomical. As I see these notices come in, I don’t just see emails, and letter, with legal information, I see a victim, who still is being victimized, year after year. A victim who will live their life knowing someone, somewhere, is viewing the most horrific events in their life repeatedly.

Every single criminal that is found with an image of child pornography should be held accountable for the highest amount possible to help the victims repair their lives. When they view child pornography they are harming a victims’ life. It is critical that Congress update restitution law to support victims of child pornography.

This bill would prevent victims of child pornography from the grueling process of collecting miniscule amounts of restitution from hundreds of defendants for decades, which delays their ability to heal from the horrific actions These images most likely will never be able to be removed from the internet. Leaving these children to be revictimized throughout their life, at least with this Congressional change, these victims can start to heal, and learn how to live a life with these circumstances. For these reasons, we strongly support the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act of 2017.


On behalf of the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault (UCASA) I am writing to you today to express our strong support for the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act of 2017. Our organization is committed to supporting legislative efforts across the country that support victims of child pornography.

Child pornography is a serious form of sexual exploitation that occurs when a perpetrator uses, produces, or obtains sexual images, videos, or other forms of content depicting sex acts involving a child. According to the United States Department of Justice “it is important to distinguish child pornography from the more conventional understanding of the term pornography.

Child pornography is a form of child sexual exploitation, and each image graphically memorializes the sexual abuse of that child. Each child involved in the production of an image is a victim of sexual abuse.

Furthermore, victims of child pornography suffer not just from the sexual abuse inflicted upon them to produce child pornography, but also from knowing that their images can be traded and viewed by others worldwide. Once an image is on the Internet, it is irretrievable and can continue to circulate forever. The permanent record of a child´s sexual abuse can alter his or her live forever. Many victims of child pornography suffer from feelings of helplessness, fear, humiliation, and lack of control given that their images are available for others to view in perpetuity.”

It is critical that the Congress update restitution law express a sincere commitment to victims of child pornography. For these reasons, we strongly support Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act of 2017.


NOVA-Letter-of-Support


Editorials

The U.S. House should enact a sensible bill to provide restitution to victims of child pornography. The Senate passed the bill in January.

By Seattle Times editorial board
March 15, 2018

Victims of child pornography are entitled to restitution from those who victimize them, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2014. But the means for doing so are incredibly burdensome, and Congress should change that.

The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bill to do just that in January, but it has not made any progress in the House.

Co-sponsored by Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and a long list of other lawmakers, the measure is one of those ideas that make people wonder why this law isn’t already on the books.

Senate Bill 2152 is necessary because of the Supreme Court ruling that victims of child pornography are entitled to very limited restitution from the perpetrators. But the justices burdened victims to pursue cases seeking restitution from each individual found to possess images of them.

The Amy, Vicky and Andy Child Pornography Assistance bill offers a way to help victims recover and includes a practical way to finance the restitution.

The proposal would use perpetrator fines, up to $17,000 for possession, up to $35,000 for distribution and up to $50,000 for production to compensate victims. Extra money could be taken, if needed, from the federal Crime Victims Fund to pay for restitution requests. Victims could request a single payment of $35,000 from the Child Pornography Victims Reserve, or use a relatively simple compensation formula for larger cases of pornography production and trafficking.

This new assistance is needed, in part, because child pornography is a crime that continuously hurts victims, Hatch argues. Feinstein points out that the victims of these crimes are affected for the rest of their lives.

“Let’s stand together and send a clear message to pornographers that we’re going to stand with the victims on this one,” said Rebecca O’Connor, vice president of public policy for the Rape,

Abuse and Incest National Network. Her group has endorsed the proposal along with other organizations including the National Center for Victims of Crime.

This bill is a good compromise between previous Senate and House proposals. The House should not hesitate to take the bill up and pass it.

Editorial board members are editorial page editor Kate Riley, Frank A. Blethen, Donna Gordon Blankinship, Brier Dudley, Mark Higgins, Melissa Santos, William K. Blethen (emeritus) and Robert C. Blethen (emeritus).


January 10, 2018

Child pornography leaves in its wake a trail of tragedy and shattered life. While public policy may never eradicate this evil altogether, it can at least alleviate the suffering of its victims. That’s exactly what Senator Hatch has sought to do with a groundbreaking new proposal that will provide justice for victims of child pornography.

Few could name a more traumatic experience than being sexually abused during childhood. But photographs or video of that abuse circulating on the Internet can turn a victim’s life into a never-ending nightmare. The Supreme Court itself has acknowledged that “every viewing of child pornography is a repetition of the victim’s abuse.”

One recent study found that 70 percent of adults who are victims of child pornography worry about being recognized by someone who has seen their sexual abuse images. And their worries are not unfounded: an estimated 30 percent of victims have actually reported being recognized. Victims also worry about images and videos of their abuse being used to facilitate the sexual abuse of other children in the same way such images were used by their tormentors.

The growing menace of child pornography is perpetuated by everyone in the chain of its creation, distribution, and consumption. Each step in this cycle is driven by the other. And while we may never know the number and identity of all the people who contribute to this heinous practice, we do know that the harm caused to its victims never ends.

The ongoing nature of child pornography’s harm means that its victims can require lifelong treatment to address their chronic distress. The “ordinary” path of growing up can be challenging enough; for child pornography victims, it can be unbearable.

That’s why more than two decades ago, Congress sought to help victims of child sexual abuse by requiring that defendants pay restitution to cover “all a victim’s losses.” That worked reasonably well for crimes in which a particular defendant caused finite harm to an individual victim. That statute, however, was enacted before the Internet became the primary method of child pornography trafficking. And in a 2014 case argued by University of Utah law professor Paul Cassell, the Supreme Court made it clear that this statute cannot provide meaningful restitution for most child pornography victims.

In an effort to update our laws for the digital age, Senator Hatch has introduced the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act, named after the victims of some of the most widely circulated child pornography series in the world. “Amy” brought her case to the Supreme Court and “Andy,” who is aided by the tireless advocates at the Utah Crime Victims Legal Clinic, is a Utah resident.

Under this legislation-which already has nearly two dozen bipartisan co-sponsors-victims will be able to choose which form of assistance will help them most. For those seeking restitution from defendants, this bill revises the criteria and options for judges to calculate losses and impose restitution. Victims may, as an alternative, apply for a one-time payment from the existing Crime Victims Fund maintained by the Department of Justice.

Importantly, this commonsense proposal also gives victims the same access to evidence, such as images and videos, that defendants already have. Access to evidence can be important, for example, if a victim pursues a civil action in which the identity of the victim must be proved.

National and state organizations active in prosecuting criminals and helping victims have endorsed this innovative legislation. Such groups include the Utah Coalition against Sexual Assault, National Center for Victims of Crime, National District Attorneys Association, National Crime Victim Bar Association, National Organization for Victim Assistance, and National Crime Victims Law Institute. The American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children-one of the leading organizations in the fight against child pornography-has also voiced its strong support for this bill.

This legislation is the right prescription because it is based on the right understanding of the unique ways in which child pornography hurts its victims. These young men and women desperately need our help, which is why we call on Congress to pass this bill without delay.

Senator Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT), the senior member and a former Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is the sponsor of S.2152. David Corwin, M.D., is Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Utah School of Medicine and President-Elect of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children.

http://www.heraldextra.com/news/opinion/local-guest-opinions/hatch-and-corwin-a-lifeline-for-victims-of-child-pornography/article_01a453f3-fa71-5822-84ae-f4daa18a9f68.html

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