Governor Robert Bentley signed Erin’s Law (Act 2015-456) on June 11, 2015, which requires all K-12 public schools to establish a child sexual abuse prevention instructional program for students in pre-K through twelfth grade.
Erin’s Law is an important piece of legislation because · Every six minutes a child is sexually assaulted in the United States. · One in four girls and one in six boys are sexually assaulted before age eighteen. · Ninety-three percent of children know their abuser. · Only one in ten sexually abused children tell someone. · There are forty-two million sexual abuse survivors in America; three million are children.
Erin’s Law is named after childhood sexual assault survivor, author, speaker and activist Erin Merryn, who is the founder and President of Erin’s Law, which is registered with the State of Illinois and the IRS as a 501 (c)(4) non-profit social welfare organization. During her senior year in high school, Erin began her crusade to end the silence and shame around sexual abuse.
The intent around Erin’s Law is to shatter the silence and stigma around child sexual abuse, and to educate children and empower them to recognize and report abuse.
Erin’s Law requires that all public schools in each state implement a prevention-oriented child sexual abuse program which teaches: Students in pre-K through twelfth grade, age-appropriate techniques to recognize child sexual abuse and tell a trusted adult. School personnel all about child sexual abuse. Parents and guardians the warning signs of child sexual abuse. In addition, they learn about the assistance, referral and/or resource information available to support sexually abused children and their families.
Education in our schools is an effective method for empowering our children in order to prevent them from falling prey to sexual abuse or from staying silent if it does occur.