The New Jersey Senate recently passed legislation that would incorporate mandatory sex abuse education in New Jersey school curricula. The legislation, sponsored by Senator Anthony Bucco, is named after a childhood sexual abuse survivor. If signed by the governor, Erin’s Law would require New Jersey schools to incorporate sexual abuse awareness and prevention education for children in preschool through grade 12.
What is Erin’s Law?
Erin’s Law would educate children on subjects such as what constitutes inappropriate touching and when to tell an adult about it. The survivor states that had she been properly educated on personal body safety when she was a child, she would have been more likely to report being sexually abused. She hopes that through awareness and education, children will be empowered to use their voice, should anything inappropriate occur.
She also notes that the emphasis on “stranger danger” is misplaced; children are abused by someone they know 93 percent of the time. In her testimony, she asks that children be provided with age-appropriate safe-touch education. Under Erin’s Law, the New Jersey Commissioner of Education would collaborate with several agencies to provide sample learning activities and resources to schools across the state, including the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NJCASA) and the New Jersey Children’s Alliance.
According to the survivor, the law has already been effective in the other states in which it was enacted. She recounts instances during educational sessions that children in Illinois, Maryland, and Oregon told teachers that they had been sexually abused. One case even led to the conviction of a teacher who had been sexually abusing four girls for 15 years. She is hopeful that Erin’s Law will be signed in New Jersey, and plans to continue fighting for its passage in the remaining states that have yet to pass the bill.
The Impetus for the Legislation
The survivor was sexually abused for two years, when she was six-years old, by her neighbor, who threatened her into silence. She was also abused from age 11 to 13 by her cousin, who said no one would believe her if she told anyone about the abuse. She stayed silent for years, sharing her story only with her diary. In 2005, she self-published a memoir detailing the abuse she endured and how she managed to overcome the trauma. She then traveled to schools all over the country, telling her story and fighting for the passage of Erin’s Law. The law was first passed in the survivor’s home state of Illinois in 2010. Since then, 35 states have enacted Erin’s Law.
New Brunswick Clergy Abuse Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Sexual Abuse Survivors Obtain Justice
If you were sexually abused by a priest or other member of the clergy, contact a New Brunswick clergy abuse lawyer at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr. For a free consultation, please fill out our online contact form or call us at 732-249-4600. Our experienced and compassionate attorneys are dedicated to fighting for the rights of clergy abuse survivors. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients from the surrounding areas, including New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.