Child sexual abuse is defined by the Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) as “the employment, use, persuasion, inducement, enticement, or coercion of any child to engage in, or assist any other person to engage in, any sexually explicit conduct or simulation of such conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct; or the rape, and in cases of caretaker or inter-familiar relationships, statutory rape, molestation, prostitution, or other form of sexual exploitation of children, or incest with children.” 

Unfortunately, it has only been within the last few decades that we—as a society—have begun to acknowledge how widespread child sexual abuse has been and how much it has hurt children. 

Listed below are some staggering statistics: 

Every 6 minutes, a child is sexually assaulted in the United States.
Only 1 in 10 sexually abused children tell someone.
In 90% of child sexual abuse cases, the child knows and trusts the person who sexually abuses them, i.e., friend, neighbor, clergy, teacher, family member, coach, babysitter, etc. 
One in three girls and one in seven boys are sexually abused before the age of 18.
In an effort to educate students, parents, teachers, community leaders, etc. about the dangers of child sexual abuse, Governor Robert Bentley signed the enactment of Erin’s Law (Act 2015-456) on June 11, 2015.  Erin’s Law is legislation that requires public schools to provide child sexual abuse prevention education to students in grades K-12.  In addition, all school personnel are expected to be provided with professional development in regards to talking with students about child sexual abuse prevention, the effects of child sexual abuse on children, the handling of child sexual abuse disclosure, and mandated reporting. 

The main intent of Erin’s Law is to shatter the silence and stigma around child sexual abuse and to educate children and to empower them to recognize and to report abuse.