Thursday, the Washington State Senate unanimously approved a bill sponsored by Rep. Gina McCabe that would help establish age-appropriate, sexual abuse prevention curriculum in schools.
The bill, House Bill 1539, is known as Erin’s Law, named for childhood sexual abuse survivor Erin Merryn. It would require the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to establish a coordinated program to provide age-appropriate information and training pertaining to the prevention of sexual abuse of students. It would also require the OSPI to disseminate existing information and curricula to school districts.
McCabe says the bill wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for the support she received from sexual abuse survivors.
“I am incredibly grateful for all of those who bravely shared their stories. Their commitment and support played an instrumental role in getting this bill out of the Legislature and onto the governor’s desk,” said McCabe, R-Goldendale. “Thirty-one other states have already passed similar legislation, and I hope Washington state can become the 32nd state and make the commitment this year to giving our students the tools they need to escape sexual abuse.”
The bill now awaits the governor’s signature.