Erin’s law – House Bill 1539

  • September 28, 2020

While the 2020-2021 school year looks really different, sexual violence primary prevention in K-12 schools must remain a priority for school staff, advocates, parents, caregivers, and all community members.

Over the past couple of years, the Office of Crime Victims Advocacy has supported the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) as they implement Erin’s Law (House Bill 1539). Erin’s Law was passed unanimously in both the House and Senate in March of 2018.

Erin’s Law is a national movement to adopt legislation promoting public schools to teach child sexual abuse prevention. The founder, Erin Merryn, is a survivor of child sexual abuse and advocates for better prevention education in schools across the country.

RCW 28A.300.150 and 28A.300.160 tasked OSPI with reviewing child sexual abuse prevention curricula and developing a coordinated child sexual abuse program for public K-12 schools. There were two main components to the implementation of Erin’s Law:

  1. Curriculum review of child sexual abuse prevention curriculum.
  2. A work group to develop recommendations for implementing child sexual abuse prevention in schools.

The recommendations report starts by providing background and foundational approaches to sexual abuse prevention. This portion is intended to ensure that there is a common language and understanding about child sexual abuse prevention.

The report then discusses the recommendations developed by the work group. It covers best practices, including incorporating various strategies: policies and procedures, teacher and staff training, student education, and family education. 

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The report also outlines how child sexual abuse prevention can be implemented at varying levels: educational agencies, schools, classrooms, the surrounding community, and state and local agencies and organizations. 

While the target audience for this report is educators, it is a valuable tool for community-based agencies who partner with schools, as well as parents, caregivers, and community members who want to encourage schools in their communities to provide comprehensive child sexual abuse prevention.

For additional information, visit OSPI’s Erin’s Law webpage.

Looking for suggestions of how to implement prevention remotely? Check out PreventConnect’s webinar Taking Prevention Online: Tips & Best Practices For Facilitating Engaging Online Events.

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