On May 8th, 2018, SB 401 was signed into law, which included an amendment sponsored by Rep. Wes Cantrell (R – District 22) based on model legislation commonly referred to as “Erin’s Law” or "Jenna's Law," making Georgia the 35th state to require all public schools to implement age appropriate sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention education for students in grades K-9. Schools are in a unique position to help young people shape positive healthy behaviors, reducing their vulnerability to being sexually abused or assaulted.
Georgia’s Statewide Human Trafficking Task Force, led by the Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council published a Technical Assistance Resource Guide (TARG) on Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Prevention. The TARG was produced by Work Group 2: Youth Safe and Aware.
SB 401 – Prevention Education Mandate in Georgia
Revision to Code Section 20-2-143, relating to sex education and AIDS prevention instruction requires:
• Annual age-appropriate sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention education in kindergarten through grades 9;
• To provide that professional learning may include participating in or presenting at in-service training on sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention (Code Section 20-2-200);
• In-service training programs on sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention for professional personnel that will be providing instruction in annual age-appropriate sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention education in K through grade 9 (Code Section 20-2-201)
This comprehensive guide provides background on best practice, principles of prevention, identifying resources for the classroom, developing a prevention plan, age appropriate teaching suggestions, analysis of specific programs, and guidelines for implementation and evaluation. Additional appendices cover Georgia specific health standards, laws regarding mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse, fact sheets and identifying additional resources.
This guide does not endorse a particular program, but it does provide a list of programs that best meet the criteria for the Nine Principles of Effective Prevention Programs. It is up to each school and/or youth-serving organization to use this guide as a tool to assess their situation and resources and then decide on a program and implementation plan that best meets their needs. The intention of this guide is to specifically address child sexual abuse and exploitation within the sexual violence continuum and how communities can engage in prevention strategies to improve the health and well-being of their youth population.
For more information or if you are interested in having this presentation and additional consultation provided to your school districts' committee on Health & Physical Education or another group, contact:
Director of Prevention Services, Georgia Center for Child Advocacy
Director, Prevent Child Abuse Georgia, School of Public Health, Georgia State University
Click for more information about the Georgia Statewide Human Trafficking Task Force.