WASHINGTON – Thursday, Reps. Bruce Westerman (R-AR-04), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA-29), David Trone (D-MD-06), and Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-CA-37) introduced the Child Sex Crimes Victims Protection Act, legislation to reform the way juvenile victims of sex trafficking and abuse are sentenced if they retaliate against their abusers.

“The United States is one of the only nations in the world that allows for sexually abused children who retaliate against their abusers to grow up in prison with no hope for parole or rehabilitation,” said Congressman Bruce Westerman (R-AR-04), member of the Bipartisan Second Chance Task Force. “That’s why I’m introducing the Child Sex Crimes Victims Protection Act to ensure that juvenile victims of abuse and trafficking have a second chance at life.

“Judges should consider a child’s experience and history when sentencing a juvenile,” said Congressman Tony Cárdenas (D-CA-29). “Children must be treated with care, compassion, and understanding. The Child Sex Crimes Victims Protection Act is a step towards a more balanced, trauma-informed system that centers on healing and rehabilitation, rather than throwing a child’s life away and leaving them stuck in a cycle of incarceration.”

“Our children must be given a second chance. We cannot allow their futures to be thrown away due to punitive and often discriminatory sentencing practices. The Child Sex Crimes Victims Protections Act, formerly known as Sara’s Law, provides our juveniles with the protections they deserve,” said Congresswoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-CA-37)

“We are one of few countries around the world that sentences children to die in prison. We ought to be ashamed of that,” said Congressman David Trone (D-MD-06), co-founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Second Chance Task Force. “A sentence of life in prison without out any possibility of release is excessively harsh for children, who do not have the same capacity as adults.


  • The Child Sex Crimes Victims Protection Act provides that juveniles found guilty of crimes against persons who sexually trafficked, abused, or assaulted them shall not be required to serve the mandatory minimum sentence otherwise associated with the crime.
  • The bill also gives the court the ability to suspend any portion of a sentence imposed on a child who committed crimes against their abuser.