JEFFERSON CITY MO — Senate Bill 54, legislation that contains a provision drafted by Senator Ryan McKenna, D-Crystal City, to prevent sexual abuse of children, was approved before the conclusion of the 2011 legislative session. The bill containing the measure, also called “Erin’s Law,” now goes to the governor’s desk for his approval.
Senator McKenna’s provision is inspired by the story of Erin Merryn, an Illinois victim of sexual abuse. Her advocacy in her home state led to the passage of a similar Illinois law in 2010. After going public about abuse by a family member Merryn made it a goal to try to make sure children have the age-appropriate education to recognize and talk about sexual abuse, especially if it is perpetrated by a relative or family friend.
Senate Bill 54 would create the Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children, a task force of legislators, state officials, and experts to make recommendations on changes to Missouri’s laws to better prevent and protect children from sexual abuse. The task force would also develop a suggested age-appropriate curriculum for pre-K through 5th grade classes on sexual abuse.