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Sex abuse bill namesake says law needed

Thu, 24 Jan 2013 11:55:25 CST

Illinois children will start learning how to identify and report sexual abuse under a measure signed by Governor Pat Quinn. The lessons will be age-appropriate and taught to all school children from pre-Kindergarten to high school. Erin Merryn of Schaumburg was sexually abused twice as a child, and now leads a national campaign against it. Earlier this month, she told the Illinois Senate why she thought the program was important:

"What we're noticing, because this is a topic we often don't talk about, is that this is the first time kids are getting at that. We had one little boy raise his hand and go 'Or she could just keep it a secret until she's an adult.' And all us facilitators looked at each other and said 'That is society for you.'"
The measure was sponsored by Senator Jacqui Collins, a Democrat from Chicago. While there are already programs available for older kids, Collins says it's also important for very young children to know what to do if they're sexually abused.

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