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Emphasizes education, teacher training as keys to ending sexual abuse of children

SPRINGFIELD, IL – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-16th) secured passage today of a measure designed to prevent child sexual abuse by educating elementary school students and training school personnel to respond to signs and reports of abuse. She partnered with former sexual abuse victim Erin Merryn, an Illinois native and Western Illinois University graduate who has advocated for similar laws in other states and in Congress. Glamour Magazine featured Erin as 2012 Woman of the Year for her efforts to help other children avoid or escape the kind of abuse she suffered as a young child.

“Passing Erin’s Law gives children in Illinois the voice I never had as a child,” Erin Merryn said. “We will finally begin educating children to speak up and tell if someone ever abuses or tries to abuse them. That’s a lesson that could have saved me years of molestation and rape.”

“Part of making our schools safe places is ensuring students can approach a teacher or staff member and receive accurate information and help when they have been abused,” Sen. Collins said. “We know that 93 percent of child sexual abuse is perpetrated by a person the victim already knows, so the ‘stranger danger’ warning children frequently hear is not sufficient protection.”

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From the website of State Senator Ryan McKenna

JEFFERSON CITY MOSenate 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.

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From the website of State Senator Greg Brower

RENO NV – Senator Brower announced today that he intends to introduce legislation to help prevent the sexual abuse of children.  “As a prosecutor, I saw too many cases involving the sexual abuse and exploitation of children,” said Brower.  “Recent events around the country and right here in Nevada tell us that we have a serious problem and it’s time to make prevention of these horrific crimes a priority.  Studies show that one in four girls and one in seven boys are subjected to some form of sexual abuse by age 18, and, in more than 90 percent of these cases, the abuser is not a stranger. I intend to introduce legislation aimed at changing this reality.”

Greg is working on a bill known as “Erin’s Law,” modeled after legislation recently passed in several other states including Illinois, Missouri, and Indiana.  These laws are named for Erin Merryn, a sexual abuse survivor whose advocacy led her home state of Illinois to be the first to pass such a law last year.  Merryn has made it her mission to ensure that all children receive age-appropriate education to recognize and report sexual abuse.

“I have been communicating with Ms. Merryn about the laws enacted in other states, and I have begun to work with legislative staff to draft an appropriate bill for Nevada.  At a minimum, I am looking at creating a task force which would bring together law enforcement officials, educators, social service providers and others to conduct a comprehensive study of the problem and make recommendations for combating it.”

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(LEGISLATIVE GAZETTE) ALBANY N.Y. – The Senate has passed legislation to combat the sexual exploitation of children by requiring that schools teach age-appropriate lessons on sex abuse prevention.

The bill (S.6182/A.8993) is sponsored by Sen. Jeffrey Klein, D-Morris Park, and Jeffrey Dinowitz, D-Bronx, and is in the Assembly Education Committee. The bill, also known as Erin Merryn’s Law, has become a law in Illinois, Indiana and Missouri and is awaiting the governor’s signature in Maine.

“We want children to know there are adults who will help them and we want these dangerous sexual predators to know that they can no longer use fear and ignorance to mask their repugnant actions,” said Klein.

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From the website of Michigan State Senator John Proos:

LANSING MI – Sens. John Proos, Judy Emmons and Rebekah Warren introduced bipartisan legislation on Wednesday in the Michigan Senate to help prevent the sexual abuse of children.

“Childhood is supposed to be a time of innocence, where a child can learn, play and enjoy life – free of the realities of adulthood, especially concerning sexual abuse,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “Unfortunately, many of our kids have this innocence taken from them. One in four girls and one of every seven boys are sexually abused by age 18, and in more than 90 percent of these cases, their abuser is someone they know. This legislation would help end that cycle.”

Senate Bills 1112-1114 would require school boards to adopt and implement policies addressing child sexual abuse and would create a one-time Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children, made up of legislators, state officials and experts to make recommendations on changes to Michigan laws.

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