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In The Spotlight:
Alaska becomes 26th state to pass Erin's Law

Alaska becomes 26th state to pass Erin's Law

After a tough fight and the state's Governor and First Lady called for it's passage, Alaska became the 26th state to pass a version of Erin's Law in June, 2015. A bill for the law has also been proposed in 17 more states. Only 7 states have not introduced it.
People Magazine: Erin 1 of 15 Women Changing World
People Magazine named Erin Merryn as one of its "15 Amazing Women Changing the World" in its June, 2014, issue for her nationwide visionary work protecting children from sexual abuse. Others included Oprah, Angelina Jolie and Angela Merkel.  
Erin Merryn named a Woman of the Year by Glamour Magazine
Erin Merryn was presented with a Glamour Magazine "2012 Woman of the Year" award for her work protecting children from sexual abuse at Carnegie Hall Nov. 12, 2012, by actress Julianna Margulies, star of CBS-TV's "The Good Wife."
The Erin's Law Blog:
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capitol DC

WASHINGTON D.C. – Such EXCITING news to share! My biggest battle the past 5 years getting Erin’s Law passed in each state is that it is an unfunded mandate. Well, that is about to change.

A FEDERAL bill has been introduced – with bipartisan support by U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Dean Heller (R-NV), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) – that will FUND Erin’s Law in EVERY state!

This is an answer to my PRAYERS! You have no idea how EXCITED I am and what this means. I can’t being to tell you how many times I have heard from legislators, “Who is going to fund this? We don’t money for this in the budget? This is an unfunded mandate? etc.”

What this will mean if this bill passes is there will be funds (millions) that schools can use to pay for prevention educators to come in and teach Erin’s Law, purchase curriculum, etc. It will cost the schools NOTHING if this federal bill passes. The bill already has strong support from the US Senate Education Committee. Will keep everyone updated as bill is voted on.

This is the press release that just went out an hour ago.

U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Dean Heller (R-NV), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) today introduced bipartisan legislation to help protect children from sexual abuse by funding school programs that provide age-appropriate lessons to primary and secondary school students on how to recognize and safely report sexual abuse. Twenty-six states have passed a version of “Erin’s Law,” legislation that requires public schools to provide child sexual abuse prevention education to students and professional development for school personnel. Gillibrand, Heller and Feinstein’s Child Sexual Abuse Awareness and Prevention Act provides federal funding for schools to develop and implement or expand these programs for students, parents and guardians. In 2013, there were a total of 60,956 instances of child sexual abuse reported to Child Protective Services agencies in the U.S. However, this estimate only represents cases of child sexual abuse reported to and confirmed by child protection authorities. Many such cases are never reported to welfare or legal systems.

“Our children need to have an age-appropriate understanding of sexual abuse and know how to safely report to an adult if they have been victimized,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Erin’s Law is helping to fill an important gap in our prevention and awareness work, and the Child Sexual Abuse Awareness and Prevention Act will make sure schools have the resources needed to develop or expand these programs and provide parents, guardians and school personnel with the tools to help prevent and respond to child sexual abuse.”

“As a father of four children, I know parents want to protect their children and provide the safest possible learning environment for them,” said Senator Heller. “This legislation equips local school districts with the resources they need to develop or enhance child sexual abuse awareness and prevention efforts. Providing parents and children with the information to recognize child sexual abuse is a key weapon in stopping these heinous crimes. I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation with my colleague, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, to ensure states, like Nevada, have the tools to help stop child sexual abuse.”

“Sexual abuse can scar children for life and we must do everything we can to prevent it,” said Senator Feinstein. “Children are more likely to heal if abuse is detected early, which is why we must ensure they are taught what to do if they are being abused and school personnel are trained to spot the warning signs.”

“For five years I have been traveling from one state capital to another trying to pass Erin’s law in my mission of all fifty states requiring that personal body safety be taught,” said Erin Merryn, Erin’s Law Founder and President. “The biggest hurdle I face in each state is Erin’s law being an unfunded mandate. It is my biggest road block. With this bill passing it will play a significant role in Erin’s law getting passed in the next 24 states. This funding will be an answer to my prayers in my biggest battle for Erin’s law. Kids’ lives are waiting to be saved and we must educate them. I didn’t have a voice but I am going to ensure every child in America has theirs.”

“When it comes to stopping sexual violence and ensuring its victims get the help they need and deserve, knowledge is power,” Scott Berkowitz, RAINN Founder and President. “This legislation will help educators learn to spot abuse and will help kids recognize when it happens to them and empower them to reach out for help. We are grateful for the leadership of Sens. Gillibrand, Heller and Feinstein and for survivors like Erin Merryn, who bravely step forward and remind us all that while we’ve made tremendous strides, our work is far from done. We look forward to working with Congress to pass this law to address sexual violence and protect America’s children.”

“Twenty-six states across the country have passed a version of Erin’s Law, named after childhood sexual assault survivor and advocate Erin Merryn. Erin’s Law emphasizes the importance of educational programs that help prevent sexual abuse by using age-appropriate techniques to instruct children on how to recognize and report sexual abuse. Research has consistently shown that educational programs designed to prevent child sexual abuse are effective at teaching children skills to identify dangerous situations and prevent abuse. Such programs have also shown to be effective at promoting disclosure and reducing self-blame by victims. Two other critical aspects of Erin’s Law include professional development for school personnel and information for parents and guardians in how to recognize signs of child sexual abuse, talk to children about child sexual abuse, and how to respond when a child discloses sexual abuse.”

“The Child Sexual Abuse Awareness and Prevention Act provides additional funding to advance Erin’s Law. Erin’s Law requires all public schools in states to implement prevention-oriented child sexual abuse programs. The programs established through the federal grants can be developed in partnership with community-based services and non-profit organizations with expertise in child sexual abuse prevention or response. The initiatives can be designed to include topics on how to recognize child sexual abuse, how to safely report child sexual abuse and how to discuss child sexual abuse with children. Gillibrand, Heller and Feinstein’s legislation serves as a complement to the Helping Our Schools Protect Our Children Act, allowing states and school districts to use federal grants to provide professional development to school personnel regarding how to recognize child sexual abuse. These personnel include: teachers, principals, specialized instructional support personnel, and paraprofessionals.”

Erin Alaska interview

 

(KTOO Public Media)-The Alaska Legislature has passed the Alaska Safe Children’s Act nearly unanimously.

The bill requires schools to provide age-appropriate education meant to prevent harm to children. The section known nationally as “Erin’s Law” teaches students about sexual abuse and lets them know there are resources if someone is hurting them. The second major component focuses on dating violence, and is being called “Bree’s Law.” It is named after Breanna Moore, who was killed last year. Her boyfriend is scheduled to be tried for the murder later this summer.

Over the course of its review, the bill was changed substantially from the original, and became a controversial vehicle for unrelated bills having to do with standardized testing and school contracts with Planned Parenthood.

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ALASKA residents please take action!!! Looks like several of your senators don’t want to protect children from abuse and just want to play politics instead. Erin’s Law is about to die in Alaska, which means the lives of many Alaska children’s innocence will die this year due to legislators who are playing games with their lives.
Contact Senate president Kevin Meyer and Finance Committee Co-Chair Anna MacKinnon who was the former executive director of STAR (Standing Together Against Rape) and she is standing in the way of passing this bill….Seriously stunned she would hold that title and then block a bill to give kids a voice. She should be the number one advocate of Erin’s Law and she is blocking this law.
I don’t care if you don’t live in Alaska I ask all of you to contact these two and tell them to do the right thing and PASS ERIN’S LAW.
Sen.Kevin.Meyer@akleg.gov
Phone: 907-465-4945
Sen.Anna.mackinnon@akleg.gov
Phone 907-465-3777

erin duggars

Yahoo Parenting -Erin Merryn met with some of the Duggar children in 2013 to discuss sexual abuse prevention at the request of Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar. (Photo: Erin Merryn)

Erin Merryn is a mother and an advocate for sexual abuse prevention. At age 6, she was molested and later raped by a friend’s uncle. At 11, her teenage cousin began abusing her. The author of three books about abuse, she is the creator of Erin’s Law, which requires public schools to teach sexual abuse prevention. In 2013 — 11 years after Josh Duggar first told his parents he had “inappropriately touched” five girls, four of whom were his sisters — she met with the Duggar family to discuss safe and unsafe touching, not knowing the family’s own history with abuse. Merryn opens up to Yahoo Parenting about the text messages she exchanged with Michelle Duggar this week, the surprising reason why the Duggar girls might be protecting their brother, why the parents are partially to blame for Josh’s alleged repeated molestations – and her own painful experience with childhood molestation.

You’ve met the Duggar family before, and have spoken to some of their children about sexual abuse. How did that first meeting come about?
I was the keynote speaker at a child abuse fundraiser that they were attending. Michelle and Jim Bob approached me afterwards and they said, ‘We love what you’re doing, we want to help you get Erin’s Law passed in other states, we want to help you gain contact with the right legislators.’ And then they left. But 10 minutes later they came back in and said, ‘Erin, we know it’s late, but is there any way you can come to our house and talk to our kids about Erin’s Law?’ So for two hours on September 24, 2013, I sat with nine of their kids, telling them about safe touches, about how people shouldn’t touch you in areas that fall under a swimsuit, and what types of secrets you should tell adults immediately. Only nine of their kids were there – the younger ones. The girls who were abused were out of town, and Josh wasn’t living there at the time. He was already living in DC.

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The Duggar family has faced plenty of public criticism since the sexual molestation allegations against oldest son Josh Duggar came to light, much of which the “19 Kids and Counting” stars addressed in a recent interview.

But they’ve also faced criticism in private.

According to sexual abuse survivor and prevention advocate Erin Merryn, in 2014, the Duggars asked her to speak to their children about sexual abuse — though they failed to tell her about the incidents that occurred in their own home.

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