Child abuse act gaining support in Annapolis

Posted at 6:37 PM, Mar 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-23 18:37:46-04

Erin's Law, aimed at preventing child sex abuse, received support from Miss America Wednesday in Annapolis. 

The bill, already passed in more than half the states in the country, would educate school children on the dangers of abuse. 

Erin's Law already passed the House with an overwhelming vote of 133 to six. It went before the Senate Education and Environmental Affairs Committee Wednesday.

Among those testifying to the merits of the bill were Miss America 2013, Mallory Hagan. She's an abuse prevention advocate and lent her voice and celebrity to the cause today. It's a cause, experts say, should be a no-brainer for lawmakers. 

"We do lock down drills in our schools now to protect against shooters and fire drills, but sexual abuse of children occurs at a far greater frequency," said Adam Rosenberg from the Baltimore Child Abuse Center. "One of four girls and one in six boys will be victims of abuse before their 18th birthday and if we are not giving them the right tools, age appropriate tools, at different stages as they grow up through life then they are more likely to become victims of abuse. And at our schools right now we are just not doing that."

Maryland would be the 27th state to pass Erin's Law. It would require the State Board of Education and certain non-public schools to develop and implement programs aimed at prevention and awareness of sexual abuse and assault.

Erin's law received federal support in 2015 when President Obama signed the Child Sexual Abuse Awareness and Prevention Act which, in part, funds the law where it has been enacted. 

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