Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a new law Thursday requiring schools to implement an age-appropriate sexual assault and abuse awareness and prevention curriculum for grades pre-kindergarten through 12. Known as Erin's Law, House Bill 6913 will help give victims a voice and prevent future incidents of sexual assault and abuse.
It was sponsored by Rep. Jerry Mitchell, R-Rock Falls, and Sen. Jacqueline Collins, D-Chicago.
Erin's Law was an initiative of Schaumburg-native Erin Merryn. She was a victim of sexual assault and abuse as a child, so Merryn quit her job to dedicate her life to helping victims break their silence, educating children about sexual assault and abuse, and preventing them from becoming future victims. She is an author and activist currently working to get Erin's Law passed in all 50 states.
Previously in Illinois, only secondary schools were required to include sexual assault and abuse awareness education. The new law expands that requirement to include elementary and middle schools. The law also requires teachers to participate in professional development and training classes that cover sexual assault and abuse.
The law is effective immediately.