Push for sex abuse prevention in NY schools

October 26, 2011

Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- Erin's law has been passed by two states and it's being introduced to the New York State Senate. The law would provide age appropriate curriculum for abuse prevention and training for school personnel.NewsChannel 9 spoke with Erin Merryn, a child sex abuse victim, who's worked tirelessly in support of the law.Growing up in Illinois, Merryn, like most kids her age, was taught fire drills, bus drills, stranger danger and more, but the one thing she says was never taught was how to deal with child abuse. Between the ages of six and eight, a neighbor sexually abused Merryn. From 11 to 13, Merryn was sexually abused by her cousin.Merryn started writing about the abuse in her diary at age 11, which she says she keeps to this day. It wasn't until age 13 that she finally visited a children's advocacy center and was able to find her voice and talk about what happened to her. That's why she's working so hard to pass Erin's Law. "Who's the other person you could possibly think of, outside of parents, that kids trust – teachers," Merryn said.Merryn says bringing this out in the open in the classroom with age appropriate curriculum has other benefits."If kids are all being educated, kids talk. They keep secrets with each other and if kids are being educated that this is a secret you don't keep…that other kid might report it," Merryn said.New York would be the third state to enact Erin’s Law. Merryn says she won't stop until all 50 states have it.New York Senators Dave Valesky and Jeffrey Klein plan to introduce the law at the beginning of their next session in January. They hope to have it in place and ready for the start of the next school year.Copyright 2011 Newport Television LLC All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.