Child Sexual Abuse Prevention: Erin's Law

8/19/2015

Little girl holding flowersAt least 26 states and the territory of Guam have enacted legislation requiring states to either study or develop age-appropriate child sexual abuse identification and prevention curricula for pre-k through fifth, eighth or 12th grades to help children, teachers and parents recognize and identify child sexual abuse.

The legislation also generally provides for some type of referral, counseling or safe way for children to report incidences of child sexual abuse and requires training for school personnel. Many states have also required task forces to further study the issue and provide statewide recommendations.

These laws are most commonly known as Erin's Laws, taking the name the most active proponent of these laws, Erin Merryn, a victim of sexual abuse as a child and prominent activist in the effort to further prevent child sexual abuse.

In addition to Erin's Laws, Texas has enacted its own unique law, known as Jenna's law (see below).

For more information about Erin's and Jenna's Laws or other ways that states are addressing child abuse and neglect, check out NCSL's January Legisbriefs and the Human Services' article on State Efforts to Address Child Abuse and Neglect.

Below is a chart with statutes from 19 states addressing Erin's Law and another chart with 2015 legislation.

State Statutes

California: Cal. Educ. Code § 51900.6

 

2014 AB 2016 (Chapter 809)

2012 CA SCR 73

 

(a) (1) The state board shall, based upon recommendations by the Superintendent, consider including age-appropriate content for kindergarten and grades 1 to 12, inclusive, in sexual abuse and sexual assault awareness and prevention in the next revision of the health content standards.

(2) The state board shall, based upon recommendations by the Instructional Quality Commission, consider including information in sexual abuse and sexual assault awareness and prevention in the Health Framework for California Public Schools when next revised.

(b) (1) School districts, county offices of education, and charter schools may provide age-appropriate instruction, pursuant to the content standards adopted by the state board under subdivision (a), for kindergarten and grades 1 to 12, inclusive, as applicable, in sexual abuse and sexual assault awareness and prevention.

(2) Upon written request of the pupil’s parent or legal guardian, a pupil in kindergarten or grades 1 to 12, inclusive, shall be excused from taking instruction in sexual abuse and sexual assault awareness and prevention established pursuant to this section.

Connecticut: Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 17a-101q

 

2014 CT SB 203 (Public Act 14-196)

 

(a) Not later than July 1, 2015, the Department of Children and Families, in collaboration with the Department of Education and Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services, Inc., or a similar entity, shall identify or develop a state-wide sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention program for use by local and regional boards of education. Such program shall be implemented in each local and regional school district and shall include:

(1) For teachers, instructional modules that may include, but not be limited to, (A) training regarding the prevention and identification of, and response to, child sexual abuse and assault, and (B) resources to further student, teacher and parental awareness regarding child sexual abuse and assault and the prevention of such abuse and assault;

(2) For students, age-appropriate educational materials designed for children in grades kindergarten to twelve, inclusive, regarding child sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention that may include, but not be limited to, (A) the skills to recognize (i) child sexual abuse and assault, (ii) boundary violations and unwanted forms of touching and contact, and (iii) ways offenders groom or desensitize victims, and (B) strategies to (i) promote disclosure, (ii) reduce self-blame, and (iii) mobilize bystanders; and

(3) A uniform child sexual abuse and assault response policy and reporting procedure that may include, but not be limited to, (A) actions that child victims of sexual abuse and assault may take to obtain assistance, (B) intervention and counseling options for child victims of sexual abuse and assault, (C) access to educational resources to enable child victims of sexual abuse and assault to succeed in school, and (D) uniform procedures for reporting instances of child sexual abuse and assault to school staff members.

(b) Not later than October 1, 2015, each local and regional board of education shall implement the sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention program identified or developed pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.

2011 Guam P.A. 31-97 (Substitute Bill 173-31)

 

First Report of the Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children within the Child Protective Act—June 2012

 

Creates a task force on prevention of sexual abuse of children. The task force is to include representatives from the courts, the departments of public health and social services, mental health and substance abuse, education, and law enforcement, the attorney general’s office and others. The task force is to gather information about child sexual abuse throughout Guam, make recommendations and create goals for local policy to prevent child sexual abuse, and submit a report on its recommendations to the legislature. The recommendations may include proposals for specific statutory changes and methods to foster cooperation among government of Guam agencies, community-based organizations, and other public and private organizations. The task force may recommend policies such as providing an age-appropriate curriculum for students in prekindergarten through fifth grade, offering training for school personnel on child sexual abuse, providing educational information for parents or guardians on the warning signs of child abuse and providing any needed assistance or referral, counseling and resources to students affected by sexual abuse and educational and emotional support to child victims of abuse to allow them to be successful in school.

Illinois: Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 105, § 110/3

 

2011 HB 6193 (P.A. 97-1147)

 

Erin’s Law Task Force

Executive Summary—May 2012

 

§ 3. Comprehensive Health Education Program. The program established under this Act shall include, but not be limited to, the following major educational areas as a basis for curricula in all elementary and secondary schools in this State: human ecology and health, human growth and development, the emotional, psychological, physiological, hygienic and social responsibilities of family life, including sexual abstinence until marriage, prevention and control of disease, including instruction in grades 6 through 12 on the prevention, transmission and spread of AIDS, age-appropriate sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention education in grades pre-kindergarten through 12, public and environmental health, consumer health, safety education and disaster survival, mental health and illness, personal health habits, alcohol, drug use, and abuse including the medical and legal ramifications of alcohol, drug, and tobacco use, abuse during pregnancy, evidence-based and medically accurate information regarding sexual abstinence, tobacco, nutrition, and dental health. The program shall also provide course material and instruction to advise pupils of the Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act. The program shall include information about cancer, including without limitation types of cancer, signs and symptoms, risk factors, the importance of early prevention and detection, and information on where to go for help. Notwithstanding the above educational areas, the following areas may also be included as a basis for curricula in all elementary and secondary schools in this State: basic first aid (including, but not limited to, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the Heimlich maneuver), heart disease, diabetes, stroke, the prevention of child abuse, neglect, and suicide, and teen dating violence in grades 7 through 12. Beginning with the 2014-2015 school year, training on how to properly administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (which training must be in accordance with standards of the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association, or another nationally recognized certifying organization) and how to use an automated external defibrillator shall be included as a basis for curricula in all secondary schools in this State.

Indiana: Ind. Code § 20-19-3-11

 

2012 IN SB 267 (Public Law 46)

 

Sec. 11. (a) The department, in collaboration with the department of child services and organizations that have expertise in child abuse, including child sexual abuse, shall identify or develop:

(1) research and evidence based model educational materials on child abuse and child sexual abuse; and

(2) a model for child abuse and child sexual abuse response policies and reporting procedures.

(c) The model educational materials on child abuse and child sexual abuse identified or developed under subsection (a) may include the following topics:

(1) Warning signs of a child who is being abused or sexually abused.

(2) The basic principles of child abuse and child sexual abuse prevention.

(3) Methods of student, teacher, and parental education and outreach.

Louisiana:  La. Rev. Stat. § 17:81

 

2014 HB 733 (Act 525)

 

2015 SCR 14 (Adopted): Continues and provides for the Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children until 2017

Y.(1)  The governing authority of each public elementary and secondary school shall provide age- and grade-appropriate classroom instruction to all students relative to child assault awareness and prevention.  Such instruction shall be limited to education on what constitutes abuse or an assault, and how students may safely and confidentially report to a school official the circumstances surrounding any such abuse or assaults.

(2)  Such instruction shall be integrated into the curriculum of an existing required course, such as health education, physical education, or another required course deemed appropriate by the school governing authority.

(3)  The governing authority of each public school shall adopt rules and regulations necessary for the implementation of this Subsection.

Maine: 2012 HB 1257

 

Chapter 162

Resolution:

Emergency preamble. Whereas, acts and resolves of the Legislature do not become effective until 90 days after adjournment unless enacted as emergencies; and

Whereas, the Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children is established to create and adopt a policy addressing sexual abuse of children; and

Whereas, the study must be initiated before the 90-day period expires in order that the study may be completed and a report submitted in time for submission to the next legislative session; and

Sec. 6. Duties. Resolved: That the task force shall make recommendations for preventing child sexual abuse. In making those recommendations, the task force shall:

1. Gather information concerning child sexual abuse throughout the State;

2. Receive reports and testimony from individuals, state and local agencies, community-based organizations and other public and private organizations; and

3. Recommend policies to prevent and address sexual abuse of children, including age-appropriate curricula for students in prekindergarten to grade 5; methods for increasing teacher, student and parent awareness of issues regarding sexual abuse of children, including warning signs indicating that a child may be a victim of sexual abuse; actions that a child who is a victim of sexual abuse may take to obtain assistance and intervention; and available counseling options for children affected by sexual abuse; and be it further

Michigan: Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 380.1505

 

2012 SB 1112 (Public Act 593)

2012 SB 1113 (Public Act 594)

2012 SB 1114 (Public Act 595)

Sec. 1505. (1) The board of a school district or intermediate school district or board of directors of a public school academy may adopt and implement a policy addressing sexual abuse of children. If a board or board of directors adopts and implements a policy addressing sexual abuse of children, the policy shall be substantially consistent with the recommendations and guidelines set by the task force on the prevention of sexual abuse of children created under section 12b of the child protection law, 1975 PA 238, MCL 722.632b, and may address, but is not limited to, any of the following:

(a) Age-appropriate, evidence-based curriculum and instruction for pupils in grades pre-K to 5 concerning child sexual abuse awareness and prevention.

Mississippi: 2013 SB 2133

SECTION 1. (1) There is created the Erin's Law Study Committee for the purpose of studying the possibility of creating and implementing a curriculum for the prevention of sexual abuse of children in the State of Mississippi.

(6) The study committee shall submit a written report setting forth its findings and recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature before January 1, 2014, at which time the study committee will be dissolved.

Missouri:

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 160.2100 et. seq.

 

2011 SB 54

 

 

 

 

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 589.020

 

Report from the Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children—2012

1. The task force on the prevention of sexual abuse of children established in section 160.2100 may adopt and implement a policy addressing sexual abuse of children that may include:

(1) Age-appropriate curriculum for students in pre-K through fifth grade;

(2) Training for school personnel on child sexual abuse;

 

1. The department of elementary and secondary education shall develop and establish guidelines for the teaching of sexual assault prevention and sexual assault counseling techniques for utilization by local school districts in the establishment of sexual assault prevention education programs. Such programs shall be adapted to the age and understanding of the pupils and shall be so emphasized in appropriate places in the curriculum as to give a full and adequate treatment of the subject.

2. Local boards of education may establish sexual assault prevention education programs in accordance with the guidelines developed by the department of elementary and secondary education under subsection 1 of this section; provided, however, that nothing in sections 589.010 to 589.040 shall be construed as mandating the establishment of such programs by local boards of education; and provided, further, that no child shall be compelled to participate in any such program if the parent or guardian of such child submits a written objection to such participation, on moral or religious grounds, to the principal or other person in charge of the school which the child attends.

Nevada: Nev. Rev. Stat. § 432B.700 et.seq.

 

2013 SB 258 (Chapter 260)

Creates the Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children; authorizes the Task Force to recommend a policy that includes educating persons who are associated with children about the sexual abuse of children, and providing support services to children in this State who may be affected by sexual abuse.

 

The Task Force expired by limitation detailed in SB 258.

New Hampshire:  N.H. Rev. Stat. § 189:69

 

2014 SB 348 (Chapter 143)

 

REPORT : Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children 2014 Report

I. There is established a commission to study sexual abuse prevention education in elementary and secondary schools.

III. The commission shall:

       (a) Study the current practices and legislation in other jurisdictions regarding sexual abuse prevention education in elementary and secondary schools, including activities and practices of state and local agencies, community-based organizations, and other public and private organizations, and solicit advice and testimony from such groups.

       (b) Identify model evidence-based curricula for sexual abuse prevention education.

       (c) Make recommendations for utilizing trained professionals to implement evidence-based curricula and training for reporting of sexual abuse in schools.

       (d) Identify opportunities for collaboration with state and local agencies, community-based organizations, and other public and private organizations to provide prevention education services.

       (e) Identify potential funding needs and sources to support increased sexual abuse prevention education in schools.

New Mexico: N.M. Stat. Ann. § 22-13-1

 

2014 HB 92 (Chapter 9)

H. All health education courses shall include age-appropriate sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention training that meets department standards developed in consultation with the federal centers for disease control and prevention that are based on evidence-based methods that have proven to be effective.

Pennsylvania: 2014 HB 1559

Section 1527. Child Exploitation Awareness Education.--(a) Beginning with the 2015-2016 school year, each school entity may:

(1) Develop an age-appropriate child exploitation awareness education program and incorporate such program into the school entity's existing curriculum for students in kindergarten through grade eight. In developing the program, the school entity may use the model curriculum developed by the department under subsection (b)(2).

(2) Include training in child exploitation awareness in the professional development plan submitted by the school entity to the secretary for approval pursuant to section 1205.1; provided that a school entity shall provide four (4) hours of such training every five (5) years for professional educators assigned to teach courses into which child exploitation awareness education has been incorporated under paragraph (1). Training under this paragraph may be used to satisfy a professional educator's continuing professional education requirement under section 1205.2. A school entity may use the materials made available by the department under subsection (b) (1) to conduct such training.

(b) The department, in consultation with at least one organization addressing child exploitation, shall:

(1) Develop a model child exploitation awareness curriculum, which may include materials already publicly available, and make such curriculum available to all school entities and, upon request, to nonpublic schools.

(2) Compile, develop and post on its publicly accessible Internet website recommended guidelines and educational materials for the training provided for under subsection (a)(2), which may include materials already publicly available.

Rhode Island: R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-22-26

 

2014 HB 7292 (Chapter 2014-404)

2014 SB 2058 (Chapter 2014-373)

(b) Prevention of child abduction, child sexual exploitation, and child sexual abuse.

(1) All pupils in grades kindergarten through eight (8) in all public schools in the state shall receive instruction designed to prevent the abduction, exploitation, or sexual abuse of children. Such instruction shall be provided by, or under the direct supervision of, regular classroom teachers; provided, however, that such instruction may be provided by any other agency, public or private.

(2) The department of elementary and secondary education shall continue to provide guidance and materials on age-appropriate sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention. The commissioner shall provide technical assistance to assist in the development of curricula that shall be age-appropriate and developed according to the needs and abilities of pupils at successive grade levels in order to provide awareness skills, information, self-confidence, and support to aid in the prevention of child abduction, child sexual exploitation, and child sexual abuse.

South Carolina: S.C. Code § 59-32-30

 

2013 HB 4061 (Act 293)

(G) Beginning with the 2015-2016 school year, districts annually shall provide age-appropriate instruction in sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention to all students in four-year-old kindergarten, where offered, through twelfth grade. This instruction must be based on the units developed by the board, through the department, pursuant to Section 59-32-20(B).

Tennessee:  Tenn. Code Ann. § 37-1-601 et.seq.

 

2013 SB 2421 (Chapter 706)

(a) The department shall develop a state plan that encompasses and complies with the scope of all provisions of this part for the detection, intervention, prevention and treatment of child sexual abuse.

(2) The department of education and the state board of education and the department of children's services shall work together in developing ways to inform and instruct appropriate school personnel and children in all school districts in the detection, intervention, prevention and treatment of child sexual abuse and in the proper action that should be taken in a suspected case of child sexual abuse. The plan for accomplishing this end shall be included in the comprehensive state plan;

Texas: Tex. Educ. Code § 38.0041

 

2009 HB 1041

 

2009 Tex. Gen. Laws, Chap. 1115

(a) Each school district and open-enrollment charter school shall adopt and implement a policy addressing sexual abuse and other maltreatment of children, to be included in the district improvement plan under Section 11.252 and any informational handbook provided to students and parents.

(b) A policy required by this section must address:

(1) methods for increasing staff, student, and parent awareness of issues regarding sexual abuse and other maltreatment of children, including prevention techniques and knowledge of likely warning signs indicating that a child may be a victim of sexual abuse or other maltreatment, using resources developed by the agency under Section 38.004;

(2) actions that a child who is a victim of sexual abuse or other maltreatment should take to obtain assistance and intervention; and

(3) available counseling options for students affected by sexual abuse or other maltreatment.

(c) The methods under Subsection (b)(1) for increasing awareness of issues regarding sexual abuse and other maltreatment of children must include training, as provided by this subsection, concerning prevention techniques for and recognition of sexual abuse and all other maltreatment of children.

Utah: Utah Code Ann. § 53A-13-112

 

2014 HB 286 (Chapter 342)

(3)(a) Beginning in the 2016-17 school year, a school district or charter school shall provide training and instruction on child sexual abuse prevention and awareness to:

(i) school personnel in elementary and secondary schools on:

(A) responding to a disclosure of child sexual abuse in a supportive, appropriate manner; and

(B) the mandatory reporting requirements described in Sections 53A-6-502 and 62A-4a-403; and

(ii) parents or guardians of elementary school students on:

(A) recognizing warning signs of a child who is being sexually abused; and

(B) effective, age-appropriate methods for discussing the topic of child sexual abuse with a child.

(b) A school district or charter school shall use the instructional materials approved by the State Board of Education under Subsection (2) to provide the training and instruction to school personnel and parents or guardians under Subsection (3)(a).

(4)(a) In accordance with Subsections (4)(b) and (5), a school district or charter school may provide instruction on child sexual abuse prevention and awareness to elementary school students using age-appropriate curriculum.

(b) Beginning in the 2016-17 school year, a school district or charter school that provides the instruction described in Subsection (4)(a) shall use the instructional materials approved by the board under Subsection (2) to provide the instruction.

Vermont: Vt. Stat. tit. 16, § 131

 

2009 SB 13

 

2009 Vt. Acts, Act 1

 

Educating Kids and Adults to Help Prevent Child Sexual Abuse in Vermont

For purposes of this subchapter, "comprehensive health education" means a systematic and extensive elementary and secondary educational program designed to provide a variety of learning experiences based upon knowledge of the human organism as it functions within its environment. The term includes the study of:

(11) How to recognize and prevent sexual abuse and sexual violence, including developmentally appropriate instruction about promoting healthy and respectful relationships, developing and maintaining effective communication with trusted adults, recognizing sexually offending behaviors, and gaining awareness of available school and community resources. An employee of the school shall be in the room during the provision of all instruction or information presented under this subdivision.

 
 
 
2015 Legislation

Alabama:

 

2015 HB 197 (Enacted)

2015 HB 363 (Failed-Adjourned)

2015 HB 197 (Enacted)

Requires K-12 curriculum to educate students on sexual assault and abuse; provides that such a curriculum is known as Erin's Law

Section 2. (a) The Governor's Task Force on Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children created under subsection (b) shall adopt guidelines for a child sexual abuse prevention instructional program. The guidelines shall:

(1) Educate children in grades pre-kindergarten through 12 in public schools on child sexual abuse prevention through age appropriate curriculum through role plays, discussions, activities, and books.

(2) Give children the knowledge and encouragement to speak up and tell if anyone has ever touched them inappropriately, rather than keep it a secret.

(3) Educate children on safe touch, unsafe touch, safe secrets, and unsafe secrets, and how to get away from an abuser and report an incident immediately.

 

2015 HB 363 (Failed-Adjourned)

Requires K-12 schools to incorporate into health education curricula age-appropriate sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention education and implement standards for training staff on sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention

"Each school shall do all of the following:

(4) Incorporate into health education curricula age-appropriate sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention education.”

Alaska:

 

2015 HB 44 (Enacted)

2015 SB 37 (Pending-Carryover)

2015 SB 31 (Pending-Carryover)

2015 HB 23 (Pending-Carryover)

2015 HB 44 (Enacted):

Article 6A. Sexual Abuse and Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention.

Sec. 14.30.355. Sexual abuse and sexual assault awareness and prevention. (a) The governing body of each school district shall adopt and implement a policy, establish a training program for employees and students, and provide parent notices relating to sexual abuse and sexual assault awareness and prevention for students enrolled in grades kindergarten through 12.

(b) The policy, training, and notices adopted under this section must include (1) age-appropriate information;

(2) warning signs of sexual abuse of a child;

(3) referral and resource information;

(4) available student counseling and educational support;

(5) methods for increasing teacher, student, and parent awareness of issues regarding sexual abuse of children;

(6) actions that a child may take to prevent and report sexual abuse or sexual assault; and

(7) a procedure allowing a student to be excused from participating in training or from receiving notices under this section at the written request of a parent or guardian of the student, or of the student if the student is emancipated or 18 years of age or older.

(c) The training required for teachers under this section may be provided as a part of the continuing education required under AS 18.66.310.

(d) In this section,

(1) "school district" has the meaning given in AS 14.30.350;

(2) "sexual abuse" or "sexual assault" has the meaning given to "sexual abuse" in AS 47.10.990.

Arkansas:

 

2013 HB 1988 (Enacted)

2015 HB 1369 (Enacted)

 

(a) There is established the "Arkansas Task Force for the Prevention Through Education of Child Sexual Abuse".

(b) The purposes of the task force are to:

(1) Gather information concerning the prevalence of child sexual abuse throughout Arkansas;

(2) Receive reports and testimony from individuals, state and local agencies, community-based organizations, and other public and private organizations;

(3) Make recommendations to the Governor, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and the State Board of Education concerning evidence-based ways to prevent child sexual abuse through education; and

(4) Make recommendations to the Governor, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and the State Board of Education regarding curricula directed at preventing child sexual abuse through education.

 

Changes the name and extends the task force created in the 2013 legislation listed above.

Colorado:

 

2015 Senate Bill 20 (Enacted)

(2.5) (a) Safe school plan - child sexual abuse and assault prevention plan. Each school district is encouraged, as part of its safe school plan, to adopt a child sexual abuse and assault prevention plan. Each school district is encouraged to include in the plan delivery of a comprehensive, age-appropriate curricula for kindergarten through twelfth grade regarding child sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention. the curricula may address, but need not be limited to:

Georgia:

 

2015 HB 406 (Pending-Carryover)

(b) The State Board of Education shall prescribe a minimum course of study in sex education and AIDS prevention instruction which may be included as a part of a course of study in comprehensive health education for such grades and grade levels in the public school system as shall be determined by the state board and shall establish standards for its administration. The course may include instruction concerning human biology, conception, pregnancy, birth, sexually transmitted diseases, and acquired immune deficiency syndrome. The course shall include instruction concerning the legal consequences of parenthood, including, without being limited to, the legal obligation of both parents to support a child and legal penalties or restrictions upon failure to support a child, including, without being limited to, the possible suspension or revocation of a parent's driver's license and occupational or professional licenses. The course also shall include age-appropriate sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention education in kindergarten through grade 12. A manual setting out the details of such course of study shall be prepared by or approved by the State School Superintendent in cooperation with the Department of Public Health, the State Board of Education, and such expert advisers as they may choose.

Hawaii:

 

2015 SB 151 (Pending-Carryover)

§ 302A- Sexual abuse prevention instructional program; guidelines. (a) The broad guidelines of the sexual abuse prevention instructional program shall be to:

(1) Educate children in grades pre-kindergarten through twelve in public schools on sexual abuse prevention through age appropriate curriculum through role plays, discussions, activities, and books;

(2) Give children the tools to speak up and tell if anyone has ever touched them inappropriately rather than keep it a secret; and

(3) Educate children on safe touch, unsafe touch, safe secrets, and unsafe secrets, how to get away and report an incident immediately.

(b) All public schools shall establish a sexual abuse prevention instructional program for students in grades pre-kindergarten through twelve, consistent with subsection (a).

Iowa:

 

2015 HB 50 (Pending-Carryover)

a. Develop and make available to school districts, examples of age-appropriate and research-based materials and lists of resources which parents may use to teach their children to recognize unwanted physical and verbal sexual advances, to not make unwanted physical and verbal sexual advances, to effectively reject unwanted sexual advances, that it is wrong to take advantage of or exploit another person, about the dangers of sexual exploitation by means of the internet including specific strategies to help students protect themselves and their personally identifiable information from such exploitation, and about counseling, medical, and legal resources available to survivors of sexual abuse and sexual assault, including resources for escaping violent relationships. The materials and resources shall cover verbal, physical, and visual sexual harassment, including nonconsensual sexual advances, and nonconsensual physical sexual contact and shall also cover child sexual abuse and child sexual assault awareness and prevention. In developing the materials and resource list, the director shall consult with entities that shall include but not be limited to the departments of human services, public health, and public safety, education stakeholders, and parent-teacher organizations. School districts shall provide age-appropriate and research-based materials and a list of available community and internet-based resources to parents at registration and shall also include the age-appropriate and research-based materials and resource list in the student handbook. School districts are encouraged to work with their communities to provide voluntary parent education sessions to provide parents with the skills and appropriate strategies to teach their children as described in this subsection. School districts shall incorporate the age-appropriate and research-based materials into relevant curricula and shall reinforce the importance of preventive measures when reasonable with parents and students.

2. Each school board shall provide age-appropriate and research-based instruction in human growth and development including instruction regarding human the following:

a. Human sexuality, self-esteem, stress management, interpersonal relationships, domestic abuse, HPV and the availability of a vaccine to prevent HPV, and acquired immune deficiency syndrome as required in section 256.11, in grades one through twelve.

b. Child sexual abuse and child sexual assault awareness and prevention in kindergarten through grade twelve, and in prekindergarten if the school district offers a prekindergarten program.

Kansas:

 

2015 HB 2031 (Pending-Carryover)

Section 1.(a) This section shall be known and may be cited as Erin's law.

(b) The board of education of each school district shall adopt and implement a plan to address child sexual abuse for each of its schools offering any of the grades kindergarten through six. Such plan shall include:

(1) Evidence-based training and education for teachers in order to assist with teacher awareness of issues regarding child sexual abuse, including knowledge of likely warning signs indicating that a child may be a victim of sexual abuse. Such training and education shall be provided as part of the school district's existing professional development program under K.S.A. 72-9601 et seq., and amendments thereto, and may be provided to other district employees and volunteers as the district deems appropriate; and

(2) evidence-based, age-appropriate instruction for students that is related to child sexual abuse. Such instruction shall be provided for all students enrolled in grades kindergarten through six. Such instruction may include, but is not limited to, information on the difference between appropriate and inappropriate conduct and actions that a child may take to be protected from sexual abuse.

Louisiana:

 

2015 SCR 14 (Adopted)

Continues and provides for the Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children until 2017

Maryland:

 

2015 SB 489 (Failed)

2015 HB 383 (Failed)

2015 SB 489 (Failed): (A) In this section," nonpublic school" means a noncollegiate educational institution that holds a certificate of approval from the state board under § 2-206(e) of this article.

(b) (1) the state board and each nonpublic school in the state shall develop and implement a program of age - appropriate education on sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention.

(2) The program required under paragraph (1) of this subsection shall be taught by teachers who are trained to provide instruction on sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention.

(c) The state board shall adopt regulations to carry out the provisions of this section.

 

2015 HB 383 (Failed): (a) in this section, "nonpublic school" means a noncollegiate educational institution that:

(1) holds a certificate of approval from the state board under § 2-206(e) of this article; and

(2) Participates in state-funded education programs.

(b) (1) the state board and each nonpublic school in the state shall develop and implement a program of age - appropriate education on sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention.

(2) the program required under paragraph (1) of this subsection shall be:

(i) taught by teachers who are trained to provide instruction on sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention; and

(ii) Incorporated into the health curriculum of each county board and each nonpublic school.

(c) The state board shall adopt regulations to carry out the provisions of this section.

Massachusetts

 

2015 HB 379 (Pending)

2015 SB 316 (Pending)

2015 HB 379 (Pending): SECTION 4. This bill establishes a mandate that beginning in the 2016-2017 school year, every school district, commonwealth charter school and non-public school which serves elementary and secondary school students, every state-operated or state-licensed program serving children and youth, and every youth-serving organization maintained by non-profit or for-profit entities shall provide age-appropriate instruction to help students and children and youth served by such schools, programs, or youth-serving organizations:

(a) Recognize and report boundary-violating behaviors in adults that might indicate they pose a sexual risk to children and youth;

(b) Recognize and report boundary-violating behaviors in other children that might indicate they pose a sexual risk to children and youth;

(c) Learn how to develop healthy and respectful interpersonal relationships, including appropriate body boundaries and privacy rules;

(d) Learn how to communicate effectively to trusted adults any concerns they have about body boundaries or privacy violations; and

(e) Learn about available school and community resources to prevent and respond to sexual abuse.

SECTION 5. School Boards, state agencies operating or licensing programs that serve children and youth, and the Boards of Directors of youth-serving organizations shall use tested, research-based instructional materials which meet these requirements and which have been demonstrated to increase the prevention knowledge and skills of those trained. The mode of delivery for the trainings may include in-person or e-learning instruction.

 

2015 SB 316 (Pending): SECTION 4. This bill establishes a mandate that beginning in the 2016-2017 school year, every school district, commonwealth charter school and non-public school which serves elementary and secondary school students, every state-operated or state-licensed program serving children and youth, and every youth-serving organization maintained by non-profit or for-profit entities shall provide age-appropriate instruction to help students and children and youth served by such schools, programs, or youth-serving organizations:

(a) Recognize and report boundary-violating behaviors in adults that might indicate they pose a sexual risk to children and youth;

(b) Recognize and report boundary-violating behaviors in other children that might indicate they pose a sexual risk to children and youth;

(c) Learn how to develop healthy and respectful interpersonal relationships, including appropriate body boundaries and privacy rules;

(d) Learn how to communicate effectively to trusted adults any concerns they have about body boundaries or privacy violations; and

(e) Learn about available school and community resources to prevent and respond to sexual abuse.

SECTION 5. School Boards, state agencies operating or licensing programs that serve children and youth, and the Boards of Directors of youth-serving organizations shall use tested, research-based instructional materials which meet these requirements and which have been demonstrated to increase the prevention knowledge and skills of those trained. The mode of delivery for the trainings may include in-person or e-learning instruction.

Minnesota

 

2015 SB 1068 (Pending-Carryover)

2015 SB 1068 (Pending): [121A.24] ERIN'S LAW; SCHOOL DISTRICT POLICY TO ADDRESS CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE.

Subdivision 1. Citation. This section may be cited as "Erin's Law."

Subd. 2. District policy to address child sexual abuse. School districts must adopt and implement a policy to prevent and address child sexual abuse. The policy may include:

(1) age-appropriate curriculum for children in prekindergarten through grade 5;

(2) staff development training on child sexual abuse;

(3) parent information on the warning signs of child sexual abuse and available resources in the student handbook;

(4) counseling and other assistance for children affected by sexual abuse;

(5) emotional and educational support for an abused child to succeed in school;

(6) methods to increase teacher, student, and parent awareness of child sexual abuse, including likely warning signs that a child may be a victim of sexual abuse;

(7) actions that a child who is a victim of sexual abuse should take to obtain assistance and intervention; and

(8) counseling options available to children affected by sexual abuse.

EFFECTIVE DATE. This section is effective for the 2015-2016 school year and later.

Nebraska

 

2015 LB 303 (Pending-Carryover)

2015 LB 303 (Pending): Section 1. The Legislature finds and declares that students in grades kindergarten through twelve have a right to study and learn in a safe, supportive environment that is free from sexual abuse. The Legislature finds and declares that a policy to create a better understanding of, awareness of, and response to child sexual abuse should be considered for adoption by each school in this state.

Sec. 2. (1) A school that adopts a child sexual abuse policy shall adopt a policy that is age-appropriate for its students.

(2) A child sexual abuse policy shall include, but not be limited to, defining child sexual abuse as any sexually oriented act, practice, contact, or interaction in which the child is or has been used for the sexual stimulation of a parent, the child, or other person and recognizing child sexual abuse warning signs, both from the victim and the perpetrator.

Sec. 3. (1) On or before July 1, 2016, the State Department of Education shall develop a model child sexual abuse policy to assist schools in developing policies regarding child sexual abuse if schools elect to adopt such a policy.

(2) If a child sexual abuse policy is adopted by a school, the policy shall be published in any school handbook, manual, or similar publication that sets forth the rules, procedures, and other policies of the school. The policy shall also be presented to students in the form of an age-appropriate educational program or school assembly.

(3) If a child sexual abuse policy is adopted by a school, the school shall provide child sexual abuse training to staff deemed appropriate by the school administration. The child sexual abuse policy training shall include, but not be limited to, those elements set forth in subsection (2) of section 2 of this act. In the interests of efficiency and economy, the child sexual abuse policy training may also be provided by any school district or combination of school districts, an educational service unit, or any combination of educational service units. Nothing in this section or in a school's child sexual abuse policy shall be construed to affect the duty of school personnel or any other individual to make a mandatory report under section 28-711.

New Jersey

 

2015 SB 102 (Pending)

2015 SB 102 (Pending): 1. Each school district shall incorporate age-appropriate sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention education in grades preschool through 12 as part of the district's implementation of the Core Curriculum Content Standards in Comprehensive Health and Physical Education. The Commissioner of Education shall provide school districts with age-appropriate sample learning activities and resources designed to implement this requirement.

2. A teaching staff member may satisfy in each professional development cycle one or more hours of the professional development requirement established by the State Board of Education through participation in training programs on sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention.

3. This act shall take effect immediately and section 1 shall first apply to the 2013-2014 school year.

New York

 

2015 AB 1037 (Pending)

2015 AB 90 (Pending)

2015 SB 1947 (Pending)

2015 AB 1037 (Pending): Section 803-b. Health education regarding prevention of sexual abuse and assault. 1. All public schools shall include, as an integral part of health education, instruction concerning the recognition, avoidance, refusal and reporting of incidences of sexual abuse and assault. Such instruction shall reflect current practices and standards in the prevention of sexual abuse and assault of children.

2. Age appropriate instruction concerning the recognition, avoidance, refusal and reporting of incidences of sexual abuse and assault included in the health education provided to students at the elementary school grades may be taught by a regular classroom teacher or by a certified teacher holding a certificate to teach health education. Instruction concerning the recognition, avoidance, refusal and reporting of incidences of sexual abuse and assault included in the health education provided to students at the secondary school grades shall be taught by teachers certified to teach health education.

3. Teachers shall be provided with the appropriate training and curricula materials concerning the avoidance and reporting of child sexual abuse and assault.

 

2015 AB 90 (Pending): Section 1. Short title. This act shall be known and may be cited as "Erin Merryn's law".

Section 2. Legislative findings and intent. The legislature finds and declares that child sexual abuse, estimated to affect up to one in four girls and up to one in six boys, poses a grave threat to the health and safety of young people, and its damaging effects can last a lifetime.

The legislature also finds and declares that child sexual exploitation, including the use of children in pornography and prostitution, and child abduction pose a similar threat to the health and safety of young people, and put child victims at grave risk of death or severe bodily harm.

The legislature also finds and declares that the incidence of child sexual abuse, child sexual exploitation and child abduction can be reduced by raising awareness among young children of common dangers and warning signs, empowering children to better protect themselves from sexual predators, and teaching children how to obtain any necessary assistance or services.

It is hereby declared to be the public policy and in the public interest of this state to establish a comprehensive program to provide an age-appropriate course of instruction in the prevention of child abduction, child sexual exploitation and child sexual abuse.

Section 3. Section 305 of the education law is amended by adding a new subdivision 53 to read as follows:

53. a. The commissioner shall make recommendations to the regents relating to instruction to prevent child sexual exploitation and child abuse in grades kindergarten through eight.

b. Prior to making the recommendations to the regents, the commissioner shall:

(i) seek the recommendations of teachers, school administrators, teacher educators and others with educational expertise in the proposed curriculum;

(ii) seek comment from parents, students and other interested parties;

(iii) consider the amount of instructional time such curriculum will require and whether such time would detract from other mandated courses of study;

(iv) consider the fiscal impact, if any, on the state and school districts; and

(v) consider any additional factors the commissioner deems relevant.

c. No later than one hundred eighty days after the effective date of this subdivision, the commissioner shall provide a recommendation to the regents to either adopt and promulgate appropriate rules and regulations implementing such curriculum or reject the implementation of such curriculum. Upon receiving a recommendation from the commissioner, pursuant to this subdivision, the regents shall vote to either accept or reject the commissioner's recommendation no later than sixty days after receiving such recommendation.

d. If the regents adopt such curriculum, the curriculum requirement shall take effect no later than the next school year after such curriculum has been adopted.

e. If the regents reject such curriculum, the commissioner shall provide a report as to the determination of the regents to the governor, the temporary president of the senate, the speaker of the assembly and the chairs of the senate and assembly committees on education providing the reasons for such rejection not later than thirty days after the regents reject such curriculum.

 

2015 SB 1947 (Pending): Section 1. Short title. This act shall be known and may be cited as "Erin Merryn's law".

Section 2. Legislative findings and intent. The legislature finds and declares that child sexual abuse, estimated to affect up to one in four girls and up to one in six boys, poses a grave threat to the health and safety of young people, and its damaging effects can last a lifetime.

The legislature also finds and declares that child sexual exploitation, including the use of children in pornography and prostitution, and child abduction pose a similar threat to the health and safety of young people, and put child victims at grave risk of death or severe bodily harm.

The legislature also finds and declares that the incidence of child sexual abuse, child sexual exploitation and child abduction can be reduced by raising awareness among young children of common dangers and warning signs, empowering children to better protect themselves from sexual predators, and teaching children how to obtain any necessary assistance or services.

It is hereby declared to be the public policy and in the public interest of this state to establish a comprehensive program to provide an age-appropriate course of instruction in the prevention of child abduction, child sexual exploitation and child sexual abuse.

Section 3. Section 305 of the education law is amended by adding a new subdivision 53 to read as follows:

53. a. The commissioner shall make recommendations to the regents relating to instruction to prevent child sexual exploitation and child abuse in grades kindergarten through eight.

b. Prior to making the recommendations to the regents, the commissioner shall:

(i) seek the recommendations of teachers, school administrators, teacher educators and others with educational expertise in the proposed curriculum;

(ii) seek comment from parents, students and other interested parties;

(iii) consider the amount of instructional time such curriculum will require and whether such time would detract from other mandated courses of study;

(iv) consider the fiscal impact, if any, on the state and school districts; and

(v) consider any additional factors the commissioner deems relevant.

c. No later than one hundred eighty days after the effective date of this subdivision, the commissioner shall provide a recommendation to the regents to either adopt and promulgate appropriate rules and regulations implementing such curriculum or reject the implementation of such curriculum. Upon receiving a recommendation from the commissioner, pursuant to this subdivision, the regents shall vote to either accept or reject the commissioner's recommendation no later than sixty days after receiving such recommendation.

d. If the regents adopt such curriculum, the curriculum requirement shall take effect no later than the next school year after such curriculum has been adopted.

e. If the regents reject such curriculum, the commissioner shall provide a report as to the determination of the regents to the governor, the temporary president of the senate, the speaker of the assembly and the chairs of the senate and assembly committees on education providing the reasons for such rejection not later than thirty days after the regents reject such curriculum.

Ohio

 

2015 HB 85 (Pending)

2015 HB 85 (Pending): (5) Health education, which shall include instruction in:

(d) In grades kindergarten through six, annual age- appropriate instruction in child sexual abuse prevention, including information on available counseling and resources for children who are sexually abused;

(e) In grades kindergarten through six, instruction in personal safety and assault prevention, except that upon written request of the student's parent or guardian, a student shall be excused from taking instruction in personal safety and assault prevention;

(e) (f) In grades seven through twelve, age-appropriate instruction in dating violence prevention education and sexual violence prevention education, which shall include instruction in recognizing dating violence warning signs and characteristics of healthy relationships.

Oklahoma

 

2015 SB 629 (Pending-Carryover)

2015 SB 303 (Pending-Carryover)

2015 SB 303 (Pending): A. The State Department of Education, in collaboration with the Department of Human Services and organizations that have expertise in child sexual abuse, shall develop and make available to school districts age-appropriate sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention education for grades kindergarten through twelve.

B. The State Department of Education and the Department of Human Services may identify or develop:

1. Research and evidence-based model educational materials on child abuse and child sexual abuse; and

2. A model for child abuse and sexual abuse response policies and reporting procedures.

C. Beginning with the 2016-2017 school year, the board of education of each school district in this state shall adopt a policy to provide age-appropriate sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention education for grades kindergarten through twelve. The policy may address the inclusion of age-appropriate education as part of physical and health curriculum or as a separate session provided in consultation with the school's counselor.

D. All curriculum and materials that will be used to provide age-appropriate sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention education for grades kindergarten through twelve shall be available through the superintendent or a designee of the school district for inspection by parents and guardians of the student who will be involved with the class or session. The superintendent or a designee of the school district shall provide prior written notification to the parents or guardians of the students involved of their right to inspect the curriculum and material and of their obligation to notify the school in writing if they do not want their child to participate in the class or session. Each school district board of education shall determine the means of providing written notification to the parents and guardians. No student shall be required to participate in a class or session providing sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention education if a parent or guardian of the student objects in writing to such participation.

 

2015 SB 629 (Pending): The board of education of a school district that offers a health education class shall include, as part of the class, age-appropriate sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention education. Such education shall include instruction on the reporting of sexual abuse and assault.

Oregon

 

2015 SB 856 (Enacted)

2015 SB 856 (Enacted): SECTION 1. (1) Each school district board shall adopt a child sexual abuse prevention instructional program for students in kindergarten through grade 12.

(2) School districts must include in the program:

(a) Developmentally appropriate, culturally sensitive and evidence-based instruction for each grade level;

(b) A minimum of four instructional sessions per school year, with each year's instruction building on the previous year's instruction;

(c) Age-appropriate curriculum including role-playing, discussion, activities and books to educate students regarding child sexual abuse prevention;

(d) Instruction providing students with the knowledge and tools to communicate incidents of sexual abuse;

(e) Instruction regarding "safe touch," "unsafe touch," "safe secrets," "unsafe secrets," and how to escape and report a sexual abuse situation;

(f) Techniques to recognize child sexual abuse, skills to reduce vulnerability and encouragement to report child sexual abuse;

(g) An evaluation component with measurable outcomes;

(h) A professional training component for administrators, teachers and other school personnel regarding communicating child sexual abuse prevention techniques to students, effects of child sexual abuse on children, receiving child sexual abuse reports and disclosures and mandated reporting; and

(i) A parental involvement component to inform parents about child sexual abuse topics, including characteristics of offenders, "grooming" behaviors and how to discuss child sexual abuse prevention with children.

(3) Program instruction may be delivered by instructors including teachers, school counselors and outside agency prevention educators, provided the instructors have knowledge of and training in child sexual abuse prevention.

South Dakota

 

2015 Executive Order 6

2015 SB 71 (Failed-Adjourned)

2015 SB 71 (Failed-Adjourned): 2-6-33. The task force shall study the impact public health issue of sexual abuse of children in the state and make a report to the Legislature on the prevalence of sexual abuse of children in the state and make policy recommendations to address the following areas:

(1) Methods to increase awareness of issues regarding sexual abuse of children, including warning signs that may indicate that a child is the victim of sexual abuse and the actions and language a child may use to express that they are a victim of sexual abuse;

(2) The actions that a child who is the victim of sexual abuse could take to obtain assistance and intervention;

(3) How to best provide support and assistance to children who are victims of sexual abuse;

(4) Policies to encourage adults to take responsibility for the protection of children from sexual abuse and to respond appropriately when sexual abuse of a child is suspected;

(5) Collaboration of public and private organizations to assist in the recognition and prevention of sexual abuse of children, using research and evidence based practice; and

(6) Any other recommendation the task force deems appropriate in addressing this issue.

2015 Executive Order 6: Creates Jolene's Law Task Force which will study and make policy recommendations to address issues related to childhood sexual abuse

Washington

 

2015 SB 5506 (Pending-Carryover)

2015 HB 2183 (Pending-Carryover)

2015 SB 5506 (Pending): Every public school that offers sexual health education must assure that sexual health education is medically and scientifically accurate, age-appropriate, appropriate for students regardless of gender, race, disability status, or sexual orientation, includes information about abstinence and other methods of preventing unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, and includes information on preventing sexual abuse and violence and understanding consent. All sexual health information, instruction, and materials must be medically and scientifically accurate. Abstinence may not be taught to the exclusion of other materials and instruction on contraceptives and disease prevention. A school may choose to use separate, outside speakers or prepared curriculum to teach different content areas or units within the comprehensive sexual health program as long as all speakers, curriculum, and materials used are in compliance with this section. Sexual health education must be consistent with the January 2005 guidelines for sexual health information and disease prevention developed by the department of health and the office of the superintendent of public instruction.

 

2015 HB 2183 (Pending): (1) The Erin's law task force is established for the purpose of creating and implementing a curriculum for the prevention of sexual abuse for students from kindergarten through twelfth grade in the state of Washington. The task force comprises:

(a) The director of the department of early learning or the director's designee;

(b) The superintendent of public instruction or the superintendent's designee;

(c) The attorney general or the attorney general's designee;

(d) One member from each of the two largest caucuses of the house of representatives, appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives;

(e) One member from each of the two largest caucuses of the senate, appointed by the president of the senate;

(f) One representative of a state association of principals;

(g) One teacher selected by the largest union of teachers in the state;

(h) One teacher selected by the office of the superintendent of public instruction; and

(i) One representative of a state association of school counselors.

(2) The task force must choose or develop a model curriculum for the prevention of sexual abuse for students from kindergarten through twelfth grade and make implementation recommendations to the appropriate committees of the legislature by December 1, 2016. The model curriculum must:

(a) Be evidence-based;

(b) Be age-appropriate and culturally sensitive;

(c) Include a professional training component for administrators, teachers, and other school staff on talking to students about child sexual abuse prevention, the effects of sexual abuse on children, handling disclosures, and mandatory reporting;

(d) Include a component that encourages parental involvement in child sexual abuse prevention; and

(e) Allow school districts the flexibility to determine when and how the curriculum is offered to students.

West Virginia: 2015 HB 2527 (Enacted)

(a) This section may be referred to as “Erin Merryn's Law”.

(c) To the extent practicable, members of the task force shall be individuals actively involved in the fields of child abuse and neglect prevention and child welfare.

(d) At the joint call of the House of Delegates and Senate Education Committee Chairs, the task force shall convene its first meeting and by majority vote of members present elect presiding officers. Subsequent meetings shall be at the call of the presiding officer.

(e) The task force shall make recommendations for decreasing incidence of sexual abuse of children in West Virginia. In making those recommendations, the task force shall:

(1) Gather information regarding sexual abuse of children throughout the state;

(2) Receive related reports and testimony from individuals, state and local agencies, community-based organizations, and other public and private organizations;

(3) Create goals for state education policy that would prevent sexual abuse of children;

(4) Create goals for other areas of state policy that would prevent sexual abuse of children; and

(5) Submit a report with its recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature.

(f) The recommendations may include proposals for specific statutory changes and methods to foster cooperation among state agencies and between the state and local governments. The task force shall consult with employees of the Bureau for Children and Family Services, the Division of Justice and Community Services, the West Virginia State Police, the State Board of Education, and any other state agency or department as necessary to accomplish its responsibilities under this section.

(g) Task force members serve without compensation and do not receive expense reimbursement.

About This NCSL Project

The Denver-based child welfare project staff focuses on state policy, tracking legislation and providing research and policy analysis, consultation, and technical assistance specifically geared to the legislative audience. Denver staff can be reached at (303) 364-7700 or childwelfare@ncsl.org.

NCSL staff in Washington, D.C. track and analyze federal legislation and policy and represent state legislatures on child welfare issues before Congress and the Administration. Staff in D.C. can be reached at (202) 624-5400 or cyf-info@ncsl.org.

Additional Resources