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State law namesake speaks to social workers at UTA

Jenna Quinn highlighted on the topic of Child Abuse Prevention. Photo by Ruben Espiricueta
Jenna Quinn highlighted on the topic of Child Abuse Prevention. Photo by Ruben Espiricueta

One of Texas’ most public child sexual abuse survivors spoke to dozens of social workers as part of National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Jenna Quinn, whom Jenna’s Law is named, said the impact of the Texas law has helped hundreds of school children throughout the state since its passage.

“Over 52 percent of the reports (of child sexual abuse) naturally are from educators,” she said. “It just makes sense. They are around kids.”

Jenna’s Law requires that Texas employees in public and charter schools, day care centers and other facilities that educate school-aged children become aware of signs of child abuse and report incidences of suspected abuse.

The law was passed in 2009. It was the first such law of its kind in the nation requiring schools to educate employees and employees to report to authorities when they suspect a child is being abused, sexually, physically or otherwise. Other states have since passed similar legislation.

Quinn later said she believes, in coming years, Jenna’s Law will be expanded to require other entities that deal with children, such as adoption agencies, foster care workers or youth club volunteers, to report suspected abuse.

“I believe it will,” she says, regarding expansion of the law.

Quinn’s message came during National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

President Trump declared April 2019 as National Child Abuse Prevention Month and called on the country to “invest in the lives of our Nation’s children, to be aware of their safety and well-being, and to support efforts that promote their psychological, physical, and emotional development,” according to his proclamation.

About one in 10 children are sexually abused before their 18th birthday, according to Darkness to Light, a national advocacy organization. About one in seven girls and one in 25 boys is abused sexually before they turn 18, the organization says.

In 2015, the agency reported that 400,000 children born that year would eventually become victims of sexual predators. Most children, 90 percent, who are abused know their perpetrators.

Quinn was abused for years by an athletic coach who was also a friend of her family. She reported the abuse to her mother and later testified in the abuser’s criminal trial. He was sentenced to 20 years.

Click here to view pictures from her presentation.

News Topics: General