WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Erin's Law Signed by Illinois Governor

Jan 24, 2013

Illinois children will start learning how to identify and report sexual abuse under a measure signed by Governor Pat Quinn.

Erin Merryn
Credit glamour.com

The lessons will be age-appropriate and taught to all school children from pre-Kindergarten to high school.

The measure (HB 6913) is known as Erin’s law. It’s named for Schaumburg resident and Western Illinois University alumna Erin Merryn. She was sexually abused twice as a child and now leads a national campaign against the crime.

This month she told the Illinois Senate why she thought it’s important to teach children about the issue.

“What we're noticing, because this is a topic we often don't talk about,  is that this is the first time kids are getting at that,” Merryn said.

"We had one little boy raise his hand and go 'Or she could just keep it a secret until she's an adult.' And all us facilitators looked at each other and said 'That is society for you.'"

The measure was sponsored by Senator Jacqui Collins (D-Chicago), who said while there are already programs available for older kids, it’s also important for very young children know what to do if they’re sexually abused.

Thanks to Illinois Public Radio