LT. GOV. WYMAN: ERIN'S LAW PROVIDES SEXUAL ASSAULT PREVENTION RESOURCES TO STUDENTS
(HARTFORD, CT) - Today, Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman joined state leaders, local officials, and representatives from Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services to mark the passage of Public Act 14-196, An Act Concerning A Statewide Sexual Abuse And Assault Awareness Program . Known as "Erin's Law", the legislation requires the implementation of age-appropriate sexual assault prevention education in Kindergarten through 12 th grade.
"Eradicating the culture of silence and isolation around sexual assault is key to protecting young people," said Lt. Governor Wyman. "Governor Malloy and I are committed to the health and well-being of Connecticut's children and teens. Erin's Law prioritizes efforts to give students the language and resources they need to respond to a threat or get help if they are victimized. This is important information that can help keep young people safe."
"As a parent and someone whose wife spent years as an advocate for survivors and victims of sexual and domestic violence, this is an issue that is very important to me," said Governor Dannel P. Malloy. "Connecticut was proud to join other states in supporting this bill, which aims to raise the awareness of sexual assault and abuse with an education prevention program with age-appropriate material for students."
Signed into law by Governor Malloy on June 11, 2014, Erin's Law requires the Department of Children and Families, the Department of Education, and sexual abuse prevention organizations to identify or develop age-appropriate sexual abuse prevention programs to raise awareness of and prevent sexual assault.
"Most female sexual assault victims are assaulted by people they know, so the 'Stranger Danger' lessons that many children learn really don't apply," said State Senator Cathy Osten, who advocated for the new law after meeting Erin Merryn in 2012. "This new law will educate kids that if someone touches them inappropriately, if someone is sexually abusing them, they don't need to keep that a secret, and there are successful ways to report and end that abuse."
"We teach children how to react to tornado drills, fire alarms, and emergencies on the bus, but we also need to teach them about protecting personal boundaries," said State Senator Dante Bartolomeo. "We know that 93 percent of abuse is perpetrated by someone with whom the child is familiar, and the child often does not know how to react. This bill helps protect children by empowering them with knowledge of appropriate and inappropriate behavior by others and how to report that which makes them uncomfortable."
Connecticut Boards of Education have until October 1, 2015 to implement the new curricula in grades K-12, which must include education materials and reporting and response policy.
"It is a shame that we have to teach these skills to our children, but I recognize that often times the abuser is known by the child and the child is not sure what to do. I am pleased we were able to pass Erin's Law. Kudos to Senator Osten for her tenacity in pushing this important law forward," said State Representative Diana Urban.
Connecticut joins 17 other states in passing Erin's Law , which was named for Erin Merryn, a survivor of childhood sexual assault who now advocates nationally for increased awareness and prevention education.
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Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman