The Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would make it easier for the federal government to prosecute people guilty of child abuse.


The House passed, H.R. 3627, the Kilah Davenport Child Protection Act, by voice-vote in December. The Senate passed the measure through a unanimous consent agreement, meaning it now heads to President Obama’s desk for his signature.

The bill requires the U.S. Attorney General to report to Congress on the various penalties for child abuse, an attempt to encourage states with relatively lax penalties to increase them. The legislation also includes language that supporters say would make the federal government a more active prosecutor of child abusers.

The bill was named after a girl from North Carolina who was severely beaten by her stepfather, and is suffering from brain damage.