State leaders across the country are collaborating in an effort to achieve justice for victims of child pornography.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, along with a bipartisan coalition of 54 state and territorial attorneys general, and the National Association of Attorneys General, called on the U.S. House of Representatives to pass legislation that establishes guidelines for restitution and helps ensure that child pornography victims receive timely and meaningful restitution.
The coalition sent a letter to House leaders supporting S. 2152, the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act. At this time, victims must pursue every case in which a defendant was found to possess their images. Since digital images are quickly and easily distributed on the internet, there may be thousands of defendants worldwide. As a result, victims are only able to receive a small amount of money from each perpetrator and must pursue thousands of cases in order to receive full restitution.
“While nothing can undo the harm done to these victims by perpetrators who produce, share and view these images,” Attorney General Mike DeWine and other attorneys general wrote in their letter, “Congress can act to make it easier for victims to receive meaningful restitution.”
The Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act will improve the law by:
- clarifying congressional intent that victims be fully compensated for the harm resulting from every perpetrator who contributed to their trauma;
- establishing a more meaningful definition of a victim’s losses;
- establishing a process for victims to receive compensation from the Child Pornography Victims Reserve within the federal Crime Victims Fund ad requiring the judicial appointment of a guardian ad litem for victims of child pornography production; and
- allowing victims and their attorneys access to the images in which they are depicted which is crucial for victim identification, expert testimony, forensic review, treatment, and the prevention and prosecution of future crimes.
The bill passed the U.S. Senate on January 23, 2018, by unanimous consent and is now being considered by the House Judiciary Committee.
A copy of the letter sent to leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives is available on the Ohio Attorney General’s website at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov.
All state attorneys general signed the letter, along with attorneys general from the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
More information on the current status of the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Pornography Victim Restitution Improvement Act can be found on Congress.gov.
Michaela Madison Reporting