N.Y. bishops support law requiring public school abuse-prevention classes

Catholic News Service

September 4, 2019

By Mike Matvey

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that requires public schools to teach classes about child sexual abuse prevention to students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Known as Erin’s Law, the legislation received support from the New York State Catholic Conference.

The New York State Senate and the New York Assembly passed the legislation nearly unanimously, 184-1, in June. Cuomo signed the bill Aug. 29.

“Erin’s Law is a critical tool in protecting children from sexual abuse,” said Dennis Poust, director of communications for the New York State Catholic Conference, which represents the state’s bishops on public policy. “While the Child Victims Act is focused on justice for those who have been abused in the past, Erin’s Law is perhaps even more urgently needed because it aims to prevent the abuse from ever happening to begin with. We were proud to support its passage.”

The law is named after Erin Merryn, a survivor of child sexual abuse and now advocate, who has made it her mission to get the bill passed in as many states as possible. New York became the 37th state to enact Erin’s Law.

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