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Editor's e-Note
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. We teach children simple safety rules about sharp objects, hot stoves, and bike helmets; why not teach them safety about protecting themselves from sexual abuse? In 2011, President Obama signed the federal version of Erin's Law, which would require children be taught about sexual abuse, and granted funding for the bill to be implemented across America. The funds will be made available to schools in the 2018–2019 school year.

With states enacting Erin’s Law one by one, Social Work Today looks into what the preparation and rollout looks like around the country. Check it out in this month’s E-News Exclusive.

We welcome your comments at Visit our website at, like our Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter.

— Marianne Mallon, editor
e-News Exclusive
Implementing Erin’s Law
By Sue Coyle, MSW

Protecting children from sexual abuse is an unfortunate but agreed-upon edict. However, too often that protection takes the form of shielding—shielding youth from information about their bodies, safety, and what exactly sexual abuse is. That lack of education can be, and often is, dangerous.

“When I was a child, I was taught tornado, bus, and fire drills; stranger danger; and the eight ways to say ‘no’ to drugs through D.A.R.E.,” says Erin Merryn, founder of Erin’s Law, who was a victim of sexual abuse starting at the age of 6. “But where were the eight ways of how to get away and tell? The only thing I was taught on personal body safety was from my abusers and that was to keep it [the abuse] a secret.

“I was safer talking to the man at the bus stop walking by with his dog that I didn’t know than with the people in my life who abused me: a neighbor and a family member,” she says.

After revealing the abuse, Merryn sought healing, in part through advocacy. She wrote to legislators in her home state of Illinois and worked to get a law passed that would require children be taught about sexual abuse. It came to be known as Erin’s Law.

Full Story »
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