ROCKFORD (WIFR) – As kids head back to school, there’s some new curriculum on the agenda for elementary students in Illinois – sexual assault and sexual abuse.
“It’s very scary, you fell you don’t have anyone to turn to.”
Catherine Young has been a victim of sexual abuse.
“There’s so much shame, there’s so little help out there to actually deal with it in the long term because the side effects are long lasting,” Young says.
The State of Illinois is trying to offer more help through Erin’s Law. It requires all public schools to teach elementary students about sexual assault and sexual abuse. In the Belvidere School District, administrators are waiting for a specific polity to figure out how they’ll implement the curriculum, what they do know, is staff will be there for students.
“They need to know that their school teachers and their principals, and their counselors are going to be their biggest advocates and they’re going to be supportive of them.”
Young believes that kind of support is important because victims can’t always turn to family.
“You feel judgment and non-belief,” Young said. “I think it gives them an opportunity to seek outside of the family, it gives them a third party to be able to turn to and confide in.”
Victims may not want to tell family because it may be a family member doing the abuse. Illinois senator Jacqueline Collins who helped pass this law says more than 90% of child sex abuse comes from a person the victim already knows.
We also checked in with Rockford Public Schools. They’ll be working with the Carrie Lynn Children’s Center to help teach the curriculum to pre-K through 5th graders. The center received a grant so it won’t cost District 205 extra money.