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President Signs Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act skip navigation
September/October 2006
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The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act was signed into law by President Bush on July 27, 2006, the 25th anniversary of Adam's abduction and murder. The Act helps protect America's children against the dangers posed by sexual offenders.

The Act has a number of important provisions:

  • The Act amends the Crime Control Act by authorizing grants to jurisdictions in enforcing the sex offender registration requirements.

  • The Act establishes the "Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking" or "SMART Office" within the Office of Justice Programs.

  • The Act provides for consistency in information provided by the sex offender, including a DNA sample, and for the maintenance of the National Sex Offender Registry for updated information to be transmitted immediately to all relevant jurisdictions.

  • The Act strengthens national standards for sex offender registration and notification by requiring sex offenders to periodically verify the information.

  • The three-tier classification for sex offenders expands the length of time from 15 years to life that a sex offender must remain on the registry depending on the severity of the sexual abuse.

  • The Act provides for law enforcement agencies to take action when a sex offender fails to register and enhances penalties for various federal violent crimes and sexual offenses against children.

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales praised the Act as a valuable tool in keeping children safe. "America's children will be better protected from every parent's worst nightmare—sexual predators—thanks to passage of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006…The protection of our nation's children has been, and will continue to be, one of the Department's highest priorities, and we believe this bill will help us do our job even better."

In keeping with the Attorney General's focus on protecting children, OJJDP supports and works in close cooperation with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). John Walsh, of the television program "America's Most Wanted," founded NCMEC following the abduction and murder of his son, Adam, in 1981. NCMEC's mission is to help prevent child abduction and sexual exploitation; help find missing children; and assist victims of child abduction and sexual exploitation, their families, and the professionals who serve them.

OJJDP also helps protect children from sexual predators through the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Program. In response to the rapidly increasing number of children and teenagers using the Internet, the proliferation of child pornography, and the heightened online activity by predators searching for unsupervised contact with underage victims, the ICAC Program helps State and local law enforcement agencies develop an effective response to cyber enticement and child pornography cases.





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