Erin Merryn had reached her seventh birthday when a neighbor stole her innocence (Blad, 2014). When she was thirteen years old, a family member raped and molested her. All her abusers had threatened to kill her if she spoke about it. Merryn transformed her silence into a childhood diary. She later turned the childhood diary into a book, “Stolen Innocence”, at her high school senior (Blad, 2014).
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Erin’s case resulted in the creation of Erin’s Law, which sought to get sexual abuse prevention education in schools in all 50 states as well as stopping sex offenders from silencing their victims. Similar to Erin’s Law, Megan’s Law has witnessed an improvement and development of new criminal sanctions such as sex offender registries, residential restrictions, electronic surveillance, and community notification. The paper will examine the significance of Erin’s Law and Megan’s Law.
Erin’s Law calls for sexual abuse education approach in preventing juvenile sex abuse. The Law proposes approaches that involve providing students with information, preparing the skills, demonstrating skills and giving feedback (Barron & Topping, 2010). Sexual education programs provides approaches such as group activities, books, videos, and puppet shows to schoolchildren.
Preventive efforts using sexual abuse education programs involves the provision of information to a small number of children for some days. Several different case situations that involve bad touch and good touch by strangers as well as the known people are exposed to children (Kenny, 2010). Most of the children sexual abuse prevention programs executed at the elementary level have some assessment. The majority of the evaluation procedures use a pretest and a posttest to assess student’s understanding of children sexual abuse.
While sex predators have been exposed to Erin’s exceptional law, the increased cognizance triggered by the Wetterling Act demanded the registration of sexual offender with their local agencies within all the 50 states (Sample & Kadleck, 2008). Similar to Erin’s case, the Megan’s Law of 1996 was passed after the rape and murder of Megan Hanks.
The Megan’s law saw the sex offender registries made accessible to the public through community notification and the internet with the local agencies providing the offender’s information. The Megan’s law demands states to have strategies put in place providing information to the public regarding the location of sex predators residing in the community.
The Megan’s law, with increased public awareness, has developed the collateral effect of destigmatizing sexual victimization as well as increasing documentation rates and helping in the identification of sexual predators (Levenson et al., 2010).
These two laws have a different application to social issues. Erin’s Law focuses on sexual abuse programs. Erin’s Law insists on the significance providing education programs in dealing with latent abusive situations. Erin’s law calls for the state and the federal government to provide a supportive environment for children.
The children sexual abuse programs identifies dimensions that expose families to risk of abuse, describe the signs and symptoms of abuse, as well as providing measures for children to be able to handle alleged case of sexual abuse appropriately and effectively. Megan’s law has subjected children sex offenders to severe, harsh treatment by exposing them to the community.
The Megan’s Law responds to violent crimes on children driven by sex through a public notification as an approach to preventing predatory children sexual abuse (Freeman & Sandler, 2010). Recognition of the predators as well as victims serves as a preventive strategy since it places a perspective that children sexual abuse can happen to any child.
Barron, I., & Topping, K. (2010). School-based child sexual abuse prevention programs: Implications for practitioners. APSAC Advisor, 22(2), 10-19.
Blad, E. (2014). New state laws require more sex abuse training in schools.
Freeman, N., & Sandler, J. (2010). The Adam Walsh Act a false sense of security or an effective public policy initiative. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 21(1), 31-49.
Kenny, M. C. (2010). Child sexual abuse education with ethnically diverse families: A preliminary analysis. Children and Youth Services Review, 32, 981-989.
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Levenson, J., Fortney, T., & Baker, J. (2010). Views of sexual abuse professionals about sex offender notification policies. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 54(2), 150-168.
Sample, L., & Kadleck, C. (2008). Sex offender laws legislators’ account of the need for policy. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 19(1), 40-62.