Teaching the young how to recognize and report sexual abuse

By Colleen O’Dea | NJ Spotlight

Public school children in New Jersey would learn about sexual abuse and what to do about it beginning in preschool under legislation awaiting Gov. Phil Murphy’s signature.

Known as Erin’s Law, after a child sex-abuse survivor who has become a national advocate for age-appropriate sexual-assault awareness and prevention curricula in schools, the bill cleared its final legislative hurdle last week. Both the Senate and Assembly passed the measure without opposition.

If Murphy signs the bill, New Jersey would become the 36th state to require the inclusion of sexual-assault awareness and prevention in the curriculum, essentially giving children the tools needed to recognize and report sexual abuse. Schools would have to begin teaching about abuse in the upcoming school year after the bill is signed, which could mean the year that begins in September.

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