The Ohio House of Representatives today passed House Bill 85, also known as “Erin’s Law,” which provides a pathway for schools to educate students in grades K-12 about the dangers of sexual abuse and about sexual violence prevention in an age-appropriate manner. The bill was sponsored by State Representatives Christina Hagan (R-Alliance) and Dan Ramos (D-Lorain).
With the goal of educating children in order to lessen occurrences of sexual abuse, House Bill 85 requires that each local school district include age-appropriate instruction in child sexual abuse prevention in the district’s or school’s health curriculum for students in grades kindergarten through twelfth. Districts, community schools and STEM schools would have the freedom to elect what kind of instruction would be taught in their respective institution.
“I am honored to be joined by 84 of my peers in ensuring that our children are educated about resources and how to find help when suffering the terrible crime of being sexually abused,” Rep. Hagan said. “I am thankful for the leadership of Erin Merryn, a survivor and advocate for our children on a national landscape. The sad reality is that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused in this nation by the age of 18. With these tools of prevention we can change the tide on the harmful ramifications of such trauma and invest in the well-being of our youngest Ohioans.”
The bill is named for Erin Merryn, an author and activist who was the victim of continued abuse as a child. She is now nationally recognized as a leader on this issue, promoting sexual abuse prevention education to children. “Erin’s Law” has been passed into law in 27 other states.
The bill passed with bipartisan support and will now go to the Senate for further consideration.