Policy & Change in Action for 2023

At RAINN, our Policy team is gearing up for a busy year ahead. We are working on passing the Child Rescue Act, the Project Safe Childhood Modernization Act, the EARN IT Act, and the Debbie Smith Reauthorization Act. We're also hoping to introduce legislation that would establish a position within the federal government dedicated to protecting kids' safety online.

The Child Rescue Act will:

Problem: Annually, there are millions of reports of child sexual abuse materials (CSAM), yet nobody is aware of the total number of children seen in CSAM who need to be identified and rescued.

  • Direct the Attorney General to establish a national working group of experts to answer the questions of how many adults are engaged in sexual exploitation of children in the U.S., how many children can be located and rescued right now, and what resources are needed to do so.

Project Safe Childhood Modernization Act will:

Problem: Law enforcement lacks resources and guidance to efficiently and proactively investigate thousands of cases of child sexual exploitation.

  • Require U.S. Attorneys to create high-priority, victim-centered, and district-specific targeting plans for federal law enforcement to identify perpetrators sexually abusing and exploiting children.
  • Require the U.S. Attorney General to develop and disseminate best practices to the field for addressing cases of child sexual abuse and exploitation.
  • Provide funding for an additional 20 full-time federal prosecutors at the Department of Justice dedicated to child sexual exploitation cases.

The EARN IT Act will:

Problem: Technology companies are not incentivized to efficiently remove, prevent, and block CSAM off of their platforms, making it nearly impossible to ensure that CSAM uploaded online can be permanently removed. Survivors live with the constant fear of someone viewing the worst moments of their lives and their privacy being constantly violated.

  • Make technology companies accountable for knowingly profiting off of the distribution of child sexual abuse materials on their platforms.
  • Provide survivors of CSAM avenues for justice when technology companies knowingly facilitate and/or profit off of the distribution of their CSAM.
  • Create a commission that would provide technology companies recommendations and best practices in addressing online sexual exploitation of children.
  • Update federal statutes to use the term CSAM instead of child pornography. The term child pornography fails to describe the true nature of the videos and images and undermines the seriousness of the abuse.

The Debbie Smith Reauthorization Act:

Problem: There is a backlog in testing DNA evidence kits. This delays investigating and detaining perpetrators of violent crimes, such as sexual assault. This delay allows offenders to continue offending and harming others.

  • Provides funding for crime labs to process DNA evidence.
  • Requires that states create plans for the reduction of the backlog.
  • Helps to strengthen the national DNA database used to help solve crimes.

Eight out of 10 sexual assaults are committed by someone who knows the victim.

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