McCabe’s ‘Erin’s Law’ signed into law

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McCabe’s ‘Erin’s Law’ signed into law

Rep. Gina McCabe's legislation to ensure students receive age-appropriate, sexual abuse prevention information and training in schools was signed by the governor today.

House Bill 1539, otherwise known as Erin's Law, would require the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to establish 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.

“Ensuring students have access to information and training that will help them speak up and stop sexual abuse is integral to a child's ability to learn, grow and succeed,” said McCabe, R-Goldendale. “Sadly, around 90 percent of the children who are sexually abused know the perpetrator. This isn't just about teaching children 'stranger danger.' It's about showing kids what to do when someone they're told to trust — a teacher, a family member, a coach — inappropriately touches or sexually assaults them. Our children need to know they don't have to endure an unhealthy relationship or situation, and that they can do something to make sure the abuse doesn't happen again or that their abuser won't hurt others.”

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

The bill is named for Erin Merryn, who was sexually abused by her cousin and a friend's uncle during her childhood. The first ever Erin's Law was enacted in Merryn's home state of Illinois in 2013 and since then, Merryn's advocacy has helped similar bills pass in more than 30 states. With the governor's signature, House Bill 1539 becomes the nation's 32nd state with Erin's Law legislation.

The bill will go into effect later this year. The 2018 legislative session adjourned March 8.


Washington State House Republican Communications