In accordance with N.J.S.A. 18A:35-4.5a, also known as Erin’s Law, each school district in New Jersey must incorporate age-appropriate sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention education in grades PreK-12 as part of the district’s implementation of the New Jersey Student Learning Standards in Comprehensive Health and Physical Education, the New Jersey Department of Education noted in an advisory.
Child sexual abuse is a serious issue that affects about one in four girls and one in 13 boys nationwide as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In New Jersey in 2021 alone, there were 523 substantiated cases reported through the Child Abuse Hotline.
In over 90% of reported child sexual abuse cases, the offender is someone known and trusted by the child or their family. Teaching children about sexual abuse decreases the likelihood that the child will be victimized by increasing their knowledge and use of strategies that prevent victimization and encouraging them to seek assistance.
The Resource Document for Educators on Supporting the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, developed in consultation with the Erin’s Law Resource Working Group, serves to provide educators with:
- Sample activities and lessons.
- Relevant resources.
- Professional development opportunities.
- Recommended considerations and best practices.
- Related risk and protective factors.
- Mandated reporter responsibilities.
- Frequently asked questions and answers.
Schools and districts are encouraged to consult this toolkit in the planning and development of their sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention education across all grade levels served. However, please note that decisions on programming and curricula to fulfill a district’s compliance with the NJSLS remain with the local educational agency and as such, districts are not limited to the selections listed within the toolkit.
If you have questions regarding Erin’s Law, contact the Office of Student Support Services via the SafeSupportiveSchools@doe.nj.gov mailbox. Should you have any questions regarding the Comprehensive Health and Physical Education Standards, email Standards@doe.nj.gov.