Erin’s Law is named after Erin Merryn, a child sexual abuse survivor, author, speaker, and advocate.
Erin Merryn first introduced the legislation in Illinois, the first state to pass Erin’s Law and mandate child sexual abuse prevention. Now, Erin’s Law is in more than 37 states.
Erin’s Law requires public school personnel and K-12 students to learn about child sexual abuse prevention. Personnel curriculum must cover the warning signs of child sexual abuse and mandated reporting, how to appropriately respond to disclosure, how to talk to parents, and how to speak to students about child sexual abuse prevention.
Erin’s Law Requirements:
According to ErinsLaw.org, Erin’s Law requires that all public schools in each state implement a prevention-oriented child sexual abuse program that teaches:
- Students in grades preK-12th 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, plus needed assistance, referral, or resource information to support sexually abused children and their families.
If you’re a school administrator, school counselor, social worker, parent, or other concerned citizen looking to implement programs to meet Erin’s Law, Darkness to Light has partnered with the Monique Burr Foundation for Children to bring you Prevent 360° which offers evidence-based curriculum for children and youth and evidence-informed curriculum for educators, parents, and caregivers.
Erin’s Law for Teachers & Erin’s Law for School Counselor:
School personnel identifies 52% of all identified child abuse cases classified as causing harm to the child, more than any other profession, including child protective services and the police.1 Frequently, school districts that implement Erin’s Law are only passing the first part of the law and requiring students only to be trained. The above statistic shows the importance of educators and adults being educated in child sexual abuse prevention and recognition. When a teacher is a safe adult, they must be prepared to hear a child’s disclosure and know how to respond in an appropriate manner. Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Chlidren® evidence-informed training teaches adults to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.
Results of several evaluations of educators post-training clearly demonstrate the importance of training adults in Stewards of Children®:
- 90% of teachers taking Stewards of Children® training report that they are more willing to report suspicions of abuse after completing the program.2
- 93% of teachers completing Stewards of Children® training said they would be more likely to recognize signs of abuse.2
- 88% of teachers report that they are more likely to talk to a child about child sexual abuse after completing Stewards of Children® training.2
- 91% of teachers taking Stewards of Children® training would recommend it to colleagues.2
Prevent 360° pairs child- and adult-focused curriculum so you can successfully comply with Erin’s Law.
Erin’s Law for Parents & Caregivers:
Knowing that one in 10 children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday and that 90% of children who are victims of sexual abuse know their abuser, it’s vital that parents and caregivers are educated in child sexual abuse prevention.3,4,5 It can be uncomfortable to talk to your kids about sex and sexual abuse, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s important to have open, honest, and age-appropriate conversations with kids about sex, boundaries, healthy relationships. By being a safe adult, a child can trust you to be there for them when they need help. Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children® teaches parents and caregivers to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.
Erin's Law Requirements by State
Sedlak, Andrea, et al. Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS–4). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, 2010, p. 16, acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/documents/opre/nis4_report_congress_full_pdf_jan2010.pdf.
Townsend, C., Haviland, M. (2016). The impact of child sexual abuse training for educators on reporting and victim outcomes: The Texas Initiative. Charleston, S.C., Darkness to Light. Retrieved from https://www.d2l.org/site/c.4dICIJOkGcISE/b.9358399/k.5FEC/Efficacy_of_Stewards.htm.
Rheingold, Alyssa, & Catherine Townsend. Estimating a Child Sexual Abuse Prevalence Rate for Practitioners: Studies. Darkness to Light, 2013, d2l.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/prevalence-rate-white-paper-D2L.pdf.
Finkelhor, David, & Richard Ormrod. “Characteristics of Crimes Against Juveniles.” Juvenile Justice Bulletin, 2000, p. 7, scholars.unh.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1002&context=ccrc.
Whealin, Julia. “Child Sexual Abuse.” U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 2007, www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/treat/type/sexual_abuse_child.asp.