(AP) - State officials are mandating that child sexual abuse awareness and prevention be taught in schools.
Officials say Delaware is joining more than 25 other states that have enacted legislation requiring the study or development of curricula for educating teachers, students and parents about personal body safety and child sexual abuse awareness and prevention.
Legislation being signed Wednesday by Gov. Jack Markell requires Delaware public schools to implement a curriculum to educate employees and parents of children in pre-kindergarten through grade six about personal body safety and child sexual abuse.
The Child Protection Accountability Commission and Division of Family Services will work with the Department of Education to develop the curriculum.
The new law also provides for parental notification of the curriculum and requires school districts to report annually on implementation.
Erin's Law, so-named after Erin Merryn, a survivor and the driving force behind this law, has been enacted in 26 states with several more looking at it. Funding is covered by the federal government. There is a similar program in at least one or two other states.
I'm delighted Delaware has joined the list. God bless you all who contributed to the passing of this legislation, you have saved lives and much suffering for children. The programs do work; one study showed that about four in 1,000 kids who did not participate in the prevention programs reported some form of sexual abuse, compared to 14 of every 1,000 kids in the prevention programs. That's 10 kids out of every 1000 who got help that would otherwise not have. If there are 100,000 pre-school to grade 6 school age children in Delaware, that's 10,000 children who will get help and probably be removed from abusive situations. And, who knows how many abuses it will stop before they begin.