Child Sex Abuse victim advocates want
to know why Cuomo hasn’t signed
ALBANY, NY – Advocates for child sex abuse victims say Gov. Andrew Cuomo is dragging his feet on signing education legislation that could decrease future child sex abuse cases.
“Erin’s Law” requires at least one hour per school year to teach kids in kindergarten through eighth grade about abuse and how to report it.
A 2015 federal law championed by U.S. Senator Kirstan Gillibrand (D-NY) provides grant funding for the program.
It’s been passed in 37 states, including New York, when the bill cleared both legislative chambers on June 20.
“I don’t know what’s going on in New York. It’s frustrating because I flew to New York and testified in 2011. It’s been the most difficult state to get it passed. Now we have to wait yet another year,” Erin Merryn, an abuse survivor from Illinois, for whom the legislation is named, told The Post.
Under the law, the state Education Department would be required to devise the curriculum, but a spokesman said the department does not comment on pending legislation.
“They made me repeat first grade because of what nobody knew was going on,” Merryn added.
“You’re actually saving money by teaching this because those kids that are being abused are the kids that you’re having to pour so much more funding into.”
“It’s important that [Gov. Cuomo] does this sooner than later, even though we’ve missed this year’s deadline, this is crucial for the children of the state of New York,” she said.
“Erin’s law actually prevents child abuse in a big way,” said child sex abuse survivor Gary Greenberg, who has pushed the bill for years.
“[It] is an even more important law than the Child Victims Act because it will actually go into every public school in the state and teach kids who to report to, and about appropriate touching. As time goes on he’s signing all these bills, a lot of bills, and no Erin’s law,” he said of Gov. Cuomo.
The law would take effect on the July 1 after the bill is signed.
“We 100 percent agree with the intent of the bill and want to ensure it’s implemented correctly. The bill language remains under review by counsel’s office,” said Cuomo spokeswoman Caitlin Girouard.
The state’s office of Children and Family Services said in 2018, the statewide central register hotline received 297,233 calls related to child abuse cases resulting in 199,047 reports flagged for further action.