New Jersey's 25th Legislative District

Senator Anthony Bucco

Senator Anthony Bucco

Bucco Works with Survivors & Advocates on “Erin’s Law” to Prevent Child Sex Abuse

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Bill requires school districts to incorporate sexual abuse prevention and awareness education into core curriculum

Senator Anthony Bucco (R-Morris) has introduced “Erin’s Law” requiring school districts to incorporate sexual abuse prevention and awareness education into the core curriculum. Senator Bucco is working with local advocates and survivor Erin Merryn, for whom the law is named, to swiftly advance the measure.

“Erin’s Law,” sponsored by Sen. Anthony Bucco, would require school districts to incorporate sexual abuse prevention and awareness education into the core curriculum. (Erin Merryn)

“We teach our children not to talk to strangers, but for 93 percent of children who are sexually abused, the attacker is not a stranger – it’s a parent, a family friend, or someone else they trust,” Senator Bucco said. “We cannot allow children to feel ashamed and suffer in silence. Erin’s Law will empower kids to recognize the signs of abuse and speak out the moment an unsafe behavior occurs. I will continue to work with Erin, and the advocates fighting for victims in our community, until every child in every New Jersey classroom has access to this education.”

Senator Bucco’s bill requires all school districts to incorporate age-appropriate sexual abuse awareness and prevention education in grades preschool through 12 as part of Core Curriculum Content Standards in Comprehensive Health and Physical Education. Senator Bucco introduced Erin’s Law (S-2145) on May 2. The legislation has been enacted in 27 states.

“Without Erin’s Law kids are often only going to be educated to be quiet on this matter and those are the kids that are being abused,” Erin Merryn said. “Had this law existed when I was a child I could have spoken up instead I stayed silent. I am thrilled Senator Bucco is sponsoring Erin’s Law in New Jersey and sees the importance in protecting kids from abuse.”

ACT NOW: Support Erin’s Law to Stop Child Sex Abuse in New Jersey!

Under Erin’s Law, the New Jersey Commissioner of Education must provide school districts with age-appropriate sample learning activities and resources designed to implement this requirement. The instruction will be provided by a school nurse who has completed professional development sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention.

Senator Bucco’s legislation has already received resounding support from prominent victim’s rights advocates and support organizations, including Morris County advocate Richard Pompelio; and Patrice Lenowitz, Founder and Executive Director of The Nurtured Parent Support Group for Survivors of Domestic Abuse, a Bergen County organization serving survivors and protective parents across the state.

“It is critical to understand how some of the worst health and social problems across the nation can arise as a consequence of adverse childhood experiences such as sexual abuse and exposure to domestic violence,” Patrice Lenowitz said. “The good news is all of them are preventable. Erin’s Law will give us all an opportunity to take action and provide essential “safe touch” education to our innocent defenseless children as early as pre-kindergarten, and every year through 12th grade.”

“The voices of child victims have been kept silent for too long,” Morris County victims advocate Richard Pompelio said. “Hopefully this legislation will become an important step in removing the timeworn prejudgments that the courts, prosecutors and child protection agencies have utilized in denying justice to our most precious citizens – our children.

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