NEWS: Democrats to Hold Public Hearing on Erin’s Law to Address Alarming Rates of Child Sex Abuse in Alaska

Opportunity to Comment on Legislation to Teach Children About Personal Body Safety

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 15, 2015

JUNEAU – The First Special Session of the 29th Alaska Legislature is underway and one of the items before lawmakers is legislation to implement Erin’s Law.  The law would require youth be taught a personal body safety curriculum that gives them information to keep them safe from child sex abusers.  Representative Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage) has sponsored Erin’s Law legislation for the past two years and is pleased Governor Walker included it on the call for the ongoing Special Session.

“The children in our state deserve our immediate attention.  With the highest rates of child sexual abuse in the country we must pass Erin’s Law now,” said Rep. Tarr. “Since school started last fall, there have been over 1,700 reports of child sexual abuse.  This is unacceptable and is hurting our state.”

Rep. Tarr will be joined by Rep. Harriet Drummond (D-Anchorage) and Rep. Max Gruenberg (D-Anchorage) in holding a public hearing on Erin’s Law next week in Anchorage.  The hearing will be held Tuesday, May 19th, from 5:30-7:30 pm, at the Anchorage Legislative Information Office.  Those outside Anchorage can participate by phone by calling 1-844-586-9085.

“Four Erin’s Law bills were introduced this year.  It’s unacceptable that one version hasn’t passed,” said Rep. Drummond.  “Enough with the delays.  Let’s get this important bill passed.”

Tuesday’s public hearing is part of a series of events hosted by the Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition and the Alaska Senate Democrats.  Thursday night, at hearings in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau, the testimony was overwhelming in support of Erin’s Law.

“This low cost prevention tool can help thousands of students in Alaska.  We have to do more to address our epidemic rates of child sexual abuse,” said Rep. Gruenberg.  “Erin’s Law has broad bipartisan support, and community groups like the Rasmuson Foundation have offered financial support to implement the law.  Let’s get this done now.”

Erin’s Law will provide critical personal body safety information to students in public schools.  By empowering students with information we can empower them with information that can keep them safe.

Erin’s Law is named for child sex abuse survivor Erin Merryn, whose life’s work is to pass the law in all 50 states.  Alaska is in line to become the 24th state in the nation to Implement Erin’s Law.

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