Erin’s Law Helping Educate Our Children

Erin’s law is a new law which was signed by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn in January 2013.  This law was developed by, and named after Erin Merryn, a sexual abuse survivor.  At the ages of 6-8 and then 11-13, Erin experienced abuse by both a neighbor and her cousin.  As a result, she set out to advocate in favor of children receiving age-appropriate education to help them in recognizing and talking about sexual abuse.   The law mandates schools to provide sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention to elementary and middle school children.  Before the law, high schools were the only schools mandated to provide this education.  The law allows for schools to bring in agencies to provide the education, or train there own teachers on how to educate the students, using a research based curriculum.

As an agency that provides counseling and treatment to children and families impacted by sexual abuse, this is a positive move in the direction of giving abuse victims a voice in the schools.

Currently 8 states have passed the law (Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Arkansas and Mississippi).  There are an additional 14 states which will be introducing Erin’s Law in 2013-2014.

If you are interested in learning more about Erin’s Law, Erin Merryn has developed a website which can be viewed at http://www.erinmerryn.net/erins-law.html.

By: Alicia Bell, ABC Sexual Abuse Therapist