Press Releases

Skip to Content

Accessible Navigation and Information

Use the following links to quickly navigate around the page. The number for each is also the shortcut key. You can jump to:

Press Releases

For immediate release: August 29, 2019
Contact: Press Office
Email: press@ocfs.ny.gov
Phone: 5184023130

Governor Cuomo Signs Erin's Law To Help Prevent Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation

  

Requires Public Schools to Teach Classes to Students in Kindergarten Through Eighth Grade About Preventing Sexual Abuse and Exploitation
 
Governor Cuomo: "Many children who have been a victim of these horrific crimes or who are still suffering from abuse don't have the information or emotional tools they need to fight back. By requiring schools to teach kids how to recognize and ultimately thwart this heinous behavior, we are giving our most vulnerable New Yorkers a voice and empowering them to protect themselves."
 
 
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation (S.4070-B/A.2577-B) - known as Erin's Law - that requires public schools to teach child sexual abuse and exploitation prevention classes to students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Erin's Law is named for Erin Merryn, an abuse survivor and activist against child sexual abuse who has advocated for similar laws nationwide for over a decade. This legislation mandates that these prevention classes include practical and age-appropriate instruction on how to recognize the warning signs of child sexual abuse and exploitation and resources on how to find help. The law will take effect on July 1, 2020.
 
"Sexual abuse is a nationwide epidemic that has inflicted unimaginable pain on countless children, and we must use every lever at our disposal to stop it," Governor Cuomo said. "Many children who have been a victim of these horrific crimes or who are still suffering from abuse don't have the information or emotional tools they need to fight back. By requiring schools to teach kids how to recognize and ultimately thwart this heinous behavior, we are giving our most vulnerable New Yorkers a voice and empowering them to protect themselves."
 
"No child should have to go through the lifetime of pain and suffering caused by sexual abuse and exploitation," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "This legislation will help to ensure young people have the knowledge and resources to help them recognize and prevent abusive behavior. Erin's Law builds on our continuing efforts to protect children and combat all forms of abuse across the state."
 
Senator Alessandra Biaggi said, "The passage of 'Erin's Law' in New York State is a monumental win that is long overdue. For years lawmakers and advocates fought for our children's access to critical preventative resources to stop childhood sexual abuse, and today that battle is finally won. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, it has been an honor to carry this bill and fight like hell to give future generations the tools I didn't have to protect themselves against harm and lasting trauma. I thank Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Governor Andrew M. Cuomo for their support in ushering this bill into law, and Erin Merryn for her never-ending commitment to bringing safety to youth across the nation. Today New York becomes the 37th state to invest in curriculum that will empower students to speak up if they feel unsafe, bringing us one step closer to stopping childhood sexual abuse once and for all."
 
Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz said, "I am thrilled that Governor Cuomo has signed Erin's law, which requires public schools to teach students about preventing sexual abuse and exploitation. Countless children have been victims of sexual abuse and exploitation, which can adversely affect them for the rest of their lives. We teach children about 'stranger danger'. But most abuse is committed by someone known to the victim. With this law we are giving girls and boys a much greater opportunity to speak up against their abusers and to prevent others from being victimized as well. As legislators there is nothing more important that we can do than to protect children. This new law does just that."