WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act of 2017, which would allow the protections of the Adam Walsh Protection and Safety Act to continue saving the lives of children throughout the nation, passed in the House of Representatives with broad bipartisan support.
Introduced by Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act became law in 2006 and has played a vital role in the prevention of sexual exploitation of America’s children. The comprehensive, bipartisan law strengthened sex offender registry requirements and enforcement across the country, as well as extended registry requirements to Native American tribes, increased penalties for child predators, and authorized funding for various programs to strengthen our defenses against child exploitation.
This legislation is critical because despite ongoing prevention efforts, the fight against child exploitation is not over. The Justice Department reports that only 17 states, three territories, and 36 Native American tribes have substantially implemented the Sex Offender Management Assistance Program and the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).
Additionally, there are also an estimated 100,000 fugitive sex offenders across the country who are unregistered or in violation of registry requirements.
Congressman Sensenbrenner: “Childhood sexual abuse is a serious problem facing this nation. The devastation it causes impacts every societal group and lasts a lifetime for its victims and their loved ones. Today’s reauthorization the Adam Walsh Protection and Safety Act ensures that serious action will continue to prevent the ongoing sexual exploitation of our nation’s children.”
Further details of the bill include the following:
- The Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act of 2017 reauthorizes the two primary programs of the Adam Walsh Act – The Sex Offender Management Assistance Program and SORNA – for five years.
- SORNA sets minimum guidelines for state sex offender registries and establishes the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website, which is a comprehensive national system for the registration and notification to the public of sex offenders. This registry currently contains information on more than 600,000 convicted sex offenders in the United States.
- The Sex Offender Management Assistance Program provides funding to the states, tribes, and other jurisdictions to offset the costs of implementing and enhancing SORNA, and funding for the U.S. Marshals Service and other law enforcement agencies to assist jurisdictions in locating and apprehending sex offenders who violate registration requirements.