Today the U.K. based Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety published a “Digital Manifesto” which it sent to all the major political parties contesting seats in the forthcoming General Election to the U.K. Parliament calling on the government to establish a new legal right for a child pornography victim to obtain compensation from any person found to be in unlawful possession of their child sex abuse image.
On March 19, 2015, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations held a hearing on the Amy and Vicky Child Pornography Victim Restitution Improvement Act of 2015. Testifying were Ms. Jill E. Steinberg, National Coordinator for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction at the U.S. Department of Justice; The Honorable Paul G. Cassell, Professor of Criminal Law at the University of Utah College of Law; Mr. Jonathan Turley, Professor at George Washington University Law School; and Mr. Grier Weeks, Executive Director at the National Association to Protect Children.
The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security will hold a hearing on Child Exploitation Restitution Following the Paroline Decision on Thursday, March 19, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. in Room 2141 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
Amy's advocate in the United States Supreme Court, professor and formal federal judge Paul G. Cassell, will testify at the hearing.
Everyone is invited to attend this public hearing as the House begins its consideration of the Amy and Vicky Child Pornography Victim Restitution Improvement Act of 2015, H.R. 595.
Victims of child pornography and child exploitation, including child trafficking, should attend the hearing in person or watch online at C-SPAN.org.
Today, the United States Senate, in one of its first acts of the 114th Congress, passed the Amy and Vicky Child Pornography Victim Restitution Improvement Act of 2015 on a vote of 98-0. Here are the floor speeches which were delivered by Senators Grassley, Hatch, and Schumer in support of the AVA.
In both the United States and the United Nations, the AVA will have a far-reaching impact for victims and nations everywhere. Passing the Amy and Vicky Child Pornography Victim Restitution Improvement Act of 2015 will place the United States at the forefront of the world's efforts to "secure effective protection, recovery and compensation of child victims." As Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Violence against Children, Marta Santos Pais, declared last year, "it is imperative that child victims of this form of sexual abuse are given the right to restitution for this crime. This is important as a remedy for these children, and as a deterrent to prevent future situations of child sex abuse of this kind."
I just wanted to add my thanks and congratulations to Senator Hatch for his leadership on this strong and necessary bi-partisan bill as Senator Feinstein has laid out. It’s essential to ensure that the victims of child pornography have a legally sound formula…This provides a mechanism for restitution that is essential and vital and I thank you for your hard work on it.
In looking at this bill, it really is a very significant bill…we now essentially put forward a framework for this so I want to just thank Senator Hatch and all of us who worked on it because I think it really is an important bill.
Mr. Chairman, thank you for putting the Amy and Vicky Act on the agenda and for bringing it up today. This bill addresses the unique problems that today result in no restitution at all in three-quarters of child pornography cases. It gives judges options for calculating a victim’s losses and for requiring restitution in the unique kinds of child pornography cases that happen most often today. And it relieves a victim of the never-ending burden of chasing defendants across the country for the rest of her life only to recover next to nothing.
The Amy and Vicky Child Pornography Victim Restitution Improvement Act of 2015 is named after “Amy” and “Vicky”
who are victims in two of the most widely-distributed child pornography series in the world. In Paroline v. United States
, which reviewed Amy’s case, the Supreme Court found that the current child pornography statute, which was enacted in 1994 as part of the Violence Against Women Act, is not well-suited for cases involving child pornography possession and distribution and should be amended to allow victims like Amy and Vicky to recover mandatory restitution. This bill addresses the Supreme Court’s concerns.
Today I am introducing legislation to help victims of child pornography, one of society’s most heinous crimes. I am joined by 34 Senators
on both sides of the aisle. I hope that this legislation will soon become law.
The bill I introduce today will amend the restitution statute so that it works for child pornography victims. It is named for Amy and Vicky
, brave women who are the victims in two of the most widely viewed child pornography series in the world. Amy’s case went before the Supreme Court last year and my staff worked with the legal team for these women in developing this bill.
This bill changes the current restitution statute in three important ways so that it works for child pornography victims. First, it gives judges options for determining a victim’s losses and calculating restitution. Second, it gives judges the ability to impose restitution on defendants in different kinds of cases to ensure that victims actually receive meaningful restitution. Third, it shifts the burden of chasing defendants all over the country from victims to defendants who can share the restitution costs with other defendants.
In our system of government, we have the responsibility to pass or change legislation to address issues and problems that Americans face. All the courts could do was confirm that the current restitution statue is no longer suited to help child pornography victims. It is now up to us to do our duty and enact a statute that will.