Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the senior Republican and President Pro Tempore of the US Senate, released the following statement after the President signed the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act into law. Senator Hatch introduced the legislation alongside Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Pat Toomey (R-PA). This bill recognizes the unique kind of harm caused by child pornography and requires restitution in a manner that will support victims.
"I'm thrilled the President has signed the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Act into law. This is a momentous day and many years in the making." Hatch said. "This bipartisan legislation will provide meaningful assistance for child pornography victims to support their recovery and allow them to reclaim their lives. I am proud of this legislation and look forward to seeing it change the world for good."
The legislation establishes more relevant standards for child pornography victims who seek restitution from defendants and gives victims the alternative of a one-time fixed compensation payment from the existing Crime Victims Fund. The bill also allows victims access to the images depicting them, which can be important for victim identification, expert testimony, forensic review, and treatment.
The bill passed in the Senate by unanimous consent in January. With the help of Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC), the House sponsor of the bill, and House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), the House of Representatives passed an amended version of the bill by unanimous consent. In November, the Senate passed the amended bill by unanimous consent, and today, it was signed by the President into law.
Statements from Amy, Vicky, and Andy
The bill is named after victims depicted in some of the most widely circulated child pornography series in the world. "Amy," "Vicky," and "Andy" all strongly support the bill.
Amy wrote: "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. Now, over four years later, Congress has finally passed, and President Trump has signed, the AVAA!!! I can't thank you enough for fighting for us, for being our voice, for standing up for us. We were silenced for so long and it just feels amazing to be heard and to actually create change for others in the future. Thank you for making it easier for us to rebuild our lives. You do not know how much this means to all the victims and survivors out there and we are forever grateful. This kind of trauma just doesn't go away but now you have given hope to current victims and future survivors. Thank you!"
Vicky wrote: "Thank you to the many members of the Congress and the President who have recognized that survivors of child pornography crimes deserve restitution from those who traffic in the images of the survivors' abuse. We must break the cycle of child sexual abuse and support the children who face the longstanding and unique impacts that come from the distribution of the images of their abuse. This law finally gives tangible and certain redress to those who truly need it. It provides hope that there will be help and assistance for the long road of healing for those who are coming out of this seemingly insurmountable situation of ongoing trauma. The law puts the focus where it belongs--on the innocents, the children who have been victimized and who come before the court in need of assistance to support their recovery from the most horrific of crimes."
Andy, a Utah resident, wrote: "Victims like me need as much help as we can get and this law will make a big difference in our lives. The AVAA is a huge improvement because it will let courts know that victims deserve at least $3,000 in every single case from every single defendant. My life has not been easy because of my abuse and exploitation, but this law gives me hope that change is possible for victims and survivors of this terrible crime, and a change in attitudes about how we deserve to be treated in federal court. Thank you Senator Hatch and everyone in Congress and the President for making the lives of victims like me a little better and for giving us hope for the future."
Support for the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act
Additionally, the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Act has been endorsed by the National Organization for Victim Assistance, National Association of Attorneys General, National Crime Victims Law Institute, National District Attorneys Association, National Center for Victims of Crime, National Association of VOCA Assistance Administrators, National Crime Victims Bar Association, CHILD USA, RAINN, APSAC in partnership with The New York Foundling, Enough is Enough, Thorn, Academy on Violence and Abuse, DV LEAP, Utah Crime Victims Legal Clinic, Utah Coalition against Sexual Assault, and the Children's Justice Fund.
Senate Co-sponsors: Feinstein (D-CA), Grassley (R-IA), Klobuchar (D-MN), Cornyn (R-TX), Toomey (R-PA), Boozman (R-AR), Gillibrand (D-NY), Cotton (R-AR), Whitehouse (D-RI), McCain (R-AZ), Murkowski (R-AK), Capito (R-WV), Tillis (R-NC), Blunt (R-MO), Blumenthal (D-CT), Casey (D-PA), Warren (D-MA), McCaskill (D-MO), Hoeven (R- ND), Merkley (D-OR), Hirono (D-HI), Kennedy (R-LA), Cruz (R-TX), Harris (D-CA), Markey (D-MA), and Rubio (R-FL).
The Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act includes the following provisions:
Findings that focus on the unique nature of child pornography crime and how it harms victims
A more relevant and predictable definition of "full amount of a victim's losses"
Child pornography production: victims receive full amount of their total losses
Child pornography trafficking: victims receive from each defendant a minimum of $3,000
Victims of child pornography trafficking are entitled to receive a one-time payment of $35,000 in defined monetary assistance (which is indexed to inflation) from a Child Pornography Victims Reserve (CPVR) within the federal Crime Victims Fund (CVF)
Caps fees for attorneys representing a victim seeking defined monetary assistance at 15%
The court must assess defendants in child pornography cases to contribute to the CPVR: up to $17,000 for possession, up to $35,000 for distribution, and up to $50,000 for production crimes
The CPVR will be capped at $10 million
Victims of child pornography trafficking will enjoy the same priority in restitution payments as victims in other restitution statutes
Child pornography victims have equal rights with criminal defendants to review the child pornography depicting them at a government facility or court for the purposes of furnishing expert testimony
The Department of Justice must deliver a report to Congress within two years after passage about the Act's implementation including an assessment of the funding levels for the Child Pornography Victims Reserve