Alaska Poised to Be Twenty-second State to Offer Child Sexual Abuse Curriculum to Students
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 18, 2015
JUNEAU – Today, the Alaska House of Representatives passed House Bill 44 by a vote of 34-6. The legislation was sponsored by Representative Charisse Millett (R-Anchorage) and co-sponsored by Representative Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage).
“This bill includes Erin’s Law, which I believe will be instrumental in protecting our children from being sexually abused,” said Rep. Tarr. “I can’t begin to thank my colleagues in the House enough for recognizing the importance of this legislation and having the courage to vote yes. I especially want to thank Majority Leader Millett for her support for Erin’s Law and pushing this bill through the committee process in the House.”
House Bill 44 was just one of four Erin’s Law bills introduced this session and it’s the first to pass a legislative body. Rep. Tarr introduced Erin’s Law last year and the bill nearly made it through the legislative process before getting tied up in committee in the final days of session. She reintroduced Erin’s Law this session.
Alaska has among the highest rate of child sexual abuse in the nation with hundreds of allegations every month. The Office of Children’s Services confirms there have been 1,592 allegations of abuse since the start of the current school year.
“Often children that are sexually abused remain silent and don’t tell anyone about their abuse,” said Rep. Tarr. “Empowering our school districts to teach some basic preventative information has been proven to help give children the tools they need to come forward and break the cycle of abuse.”
Erin’s Law is the life work of child sex abuse survivor Erin Merryn, who is working to get Erin’s Law passed in all 50 states. Erin’s Law has been implemented in 21 states and has been proven as an effective tool to prevent child sexual abuse by requiring public school districts to offer prevention curriculum.
HB 44 will now be sent to the Senate for consideration before the end of the first session of the 29th Alaska Legislature.
For more information about Erin’s Law and the progress towards legislative approval, contact Rep. Geran Tarr at (907) 465-3424.