McCabe’s Erin’s Law bill gets approval from House Education Committee

A bill that would help ensure students in grades K-12 know how to report sexual abuse passed the House Education Committee Tuesday.

The legislation, known as Erin's Law, would task the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) with establishing a coordinated program to provide age-appropriate information and training pertaining to the prevention of sexual abuse of students. It would also require the OSPI to disseminate existing information and curricula to school districts.

Rep. Gina McCabe, the bill's sponsor, said her bill is a necessary means to helping Washington children escape abusive situations and relationships.

“When the abuse is happening at home, the classroom may be their only place to escape,” she said. “Erin's Law will give our students the knowledge and resources they need to present and get the help they so desperately need.”

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, only 10 percent of perpetrators of child sexual abuse are strangers to the child.

The bill's namesake is Erin Merryn, a childhood sexual abuse survivor and activist from Illinois. She has advocated throughout the nation for legislation that studies and implements sexual-abuse identification and prevention curriculum in grades pre-K-12. So far, 31 states have enacted Erin's Law legislation.

The 2018 legislative session began Jan. 8 and is scheduled to run 60 consecutive days.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov