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Erin's Law

 

Erin's Law  (PA 97-1147 (HB6193) was signed into law in 2011 and requires all public schools to implement age appropriate, prevention-oriented child sexual abuse education programs for pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade.

In addition, districts must provide training for school personnel on child sexual abuse. Lisle 202 provides training on: 

  • The dynamics of child sexual abuse. 
  • How to handle a disclosure of child sexual abuse.
  • Questions to ask or not to ask a child who discloses sexual abuse. 
  • The requirements of the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act. 

The law calls for the adoption and implementation of a District policy addressing the sexual abuse of children.

 


 
Warning Signs of Child Sexual Abuse

Warning signs of child sexual abuse include the following.

Physical signs:
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or other genital infections
  • Signs of trauma to the genital area, such as unexplained bleeding, bruising, or blood on the sheets, underwear, or other clothing
  • Unusual weight gain or loss
Behavioral signs:
  • Excessive talk about or knowledge of sexual topics
  • Keeping secrets
  • Not talking as much as usual
  • Not wanting to be left alone with certain people or being afraid to be away from primary caregivers
  • Regressive behaviors or resuming behaviors that the child had grown out of, such as thumb sucking or bedwetting
  • Overly compliant behavior
  • Sexual behavior that is inappropriate for a child’s age
  • Spending an unusual amount of time alone
  • Trying to avoid removing clothing to change or bathe
Emotional signs:
  • Change in eating habits or unhealthy eating patterns, like loss of appetite or excessive eating
  • Signs of depression, such as persistent sadness, lack of energy, changes in sleep or appetite, withdrawing from normal activities, or feeling “down”
  • Change in mood or personality, such as increased aggression
  • Decrease in confidence or self-image
  • Anxiety, excessive worry, or fearfulness
  • Increase in unexplained health problems such as stomach aches and headaches
  • Loss or decrease in interest in school, activities, and friends
  • Nightmares or fear of being alone at night
  • Self-harming behaviors or expressing thoughts of suicide or suicidal behavior
  • Failing grades
  • Drug or alcohol use

Source: RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline


Warning Signs of Grooming Behaviors

School and District employees are expected to maintain professional and appropriate relationships with students based upon students’ ages, grade levels, and developmental levels.

Prohibited grooming is defined as (i) any act, including but not limited to, any verbal, nonverbal, written, or electronic communication or physical activity, (ii) by an employee with direct contact with a student, (iii) that is directed toward or with a student to establish a romantic or sexual relationship with the student. The Center for Child Protection considers the following , but are not limited to, as grooming behaviors:

  • Targeting specific kids for special attention, gifts or activities.
  • Slowly isolating a kid from family members and friends – physically and emotionally.
  • Undermining relationships with parents and friends to show that “no one understands you like I do.”
  • Gradually pushing or crossing physical boundaries. This could range from long-lasting full-frontal hugs, sitting on laps or “accidental” touching of private areas.
  • Offenders sometimes engage in partially clothed tickle sessions, showering with kids or sleeping in the same bed.
    Encouraging kids to keep secrets from their family members.

 

Resources
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673)
  • National Sexual Abuse Chatline at online.rainn.org
  • Illinois Department of Children and Family Services Hotline at 1.800.25.ABUSE (2873)