Rep. Tarr and Erin Merryn

Erin’s Law Champion Rep. Geran Tarr Encouraging Public Involvement in Efforts to Provide Child Sexual Abuse and Teen Dating Violence Education in Alaska’s Public Schools

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 17, 2016

Juneau – The task force created after passage of Erin’s Law and Bree’s Law last year has released recommendations for implementing child sexual abuse and teen dating violence awareness measures in Alaska’s public schools.  Such measures were mandated through passage of Erin’s Law and Bree’s Law last year as part of the Alaska Safe Children’s Act.  Erin’s Law was championed in Alaska by Representative Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage) who worked with Erin’s Law namesake Erin Merryn for two years to make Alaska the 29th state in the nation to mandate child sexual abuse awareness and prevention in public schools.  Erin Merryn is working to get Erin’s Law passed in all 50 states.     

“Thousands of people worked tirelessly to get Erin’s Law passed to protect our children from being victimized and to raise awareness about the epidemic of child sexual abuse in Alaska.  However, the work is not over.  It’s time to evaluate and comment on the specifics of just how this mission can be achieved in our public schools,” said Rep. Tarr.  “I am committed to staying involved in this issue.  We must put in place the tools to empower kids to recognize abuse and speak up if they are being abused.”

The Alaska Safe Children’s Act Task Force draft recommendations to the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development are available for review and public comments until June 24, 2016.  A public hearing on the recommendations will be held via audioconference on Tuesday, June 21, from noon until 1 p.m.  

“It is unacceptable to allow the culture of silence to continue around the issue of child sexual abuse when one in four girls and one in six boys will be assaulted before age 16,” said Rep. Tarr.  “Our mission now is to make sure we give local school districts the freedom and the tools they require to give our children the information they need about personal body safety in an age-appropriate manner.”

The draft recommendations of the Alaska Safe Children’s Act Task Force cover suicide prevention training, sexual abuse and sexual assault awareness training and prevention, dating violence and abuse awareness and training, a bystander intervention program, and alcohol and drug abuse education.  The task force is also recommending that local school districts coordinate with their local domestic violence and sexual assault victim services agencies.  Another recommendation is that school districts engage and educate parent in all aspects of the Alaska Safe Children’s Act. 

For more information, please contact Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition Press Secretary Mike Mason at (907) 444-0889.

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