Erin’s Law

Published on June 17th, 2019

Memorandum of Support

A.2577-B Dinowitz / S.4070-B Biaggi
In Relation to Erin’s Law

The
above-referenced legislation, known as Erin’s Law, would require the
instruction of curriculum on the prevention of child sexual exploitation and
abuse in grades kindergarten through eight. The New York State Catholic
Conference strongly supports this legislation.

Sexual
exploitation and abuse of children is a societal scourge. Victim-survivors face
a lifetime of negative consequences, including depression, post-traumatic
stress disorder, substance abuse, difficulty maintaining relationships and
employment, and more. In recent decades, our nation has come to a greater
understanding of the impacts of such trauma on young lives, and we have also
come to recognize that abuse is much more likely to occur at the hands of a
trusted adult – family member, friend, teacher, coach, clergy member – than a
stranger.

This
legislation amends the Education Law by adding a new section to 803-b to
provide courses of study that gives children in grades K-8, as well as parents
and school staff, the tools they need to better recognize and report grooming
and other inappropriate behavior before it becomes full-fledged abuse.

Since
the clergy sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church exploded in 2001,
Catholic dioceses across the country have instituted Safe Environment programs
that include as an essential component similar age-appropriate instruction of
children in our schools and faith formation programs, and training for all
staff and volunteers who have access to children in any Church ministry. These
programs have proven to be effective, and we support the goals of Erin’s Law to
require such instruction in all of our state’s schools, whether public,
religious or independent.

When
even one child suffers abuse, it is too many. We must not wait in enacting this
common-sense legislation, which is already law in some 35 other states. We urge
its passage before the legislature adjourns.

Article source: https://www.nyscatholic.org/erins-law/

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