Marc Chase
Marc Chase
INDIANAPOLIS — A top priority of the "No More Secrets" campaign to prevent child sexual abuse in Northwest Indiana won unanimous approval Tuesday by the House Education Committee.

Senate Bill 355, sponsored by state Rep. Julie Olthoff, R-Crown Point, would require all Indiana public and private elementary and high schools to annually provide age-appropriate instruction on child abuse and child sexual abuse identification and prevention.

The decision to advance the Senate-approved measure to the full House came after emotional and heart-wrenching testimony in support of the legislation by individuals who survived sexual assault as children.

Olthoff said statewide approximately 1 in 6 Hoosier girls are sexually assaulted as teenagers, or younger — and she's determined to do something to stop it.

She said if children learn at an early age what is a safe touch, what is an unsafe touch, what's a good secret and what's a bad secret, it will go a long way toward getting children who are being abused, or have been abused, the help they need.

"No More Secrets" was established last year by North Township Trustee Frank Mrvan, Jr., after he discovered Indiana has the second-highest rate of forced sexual intercourse among high school girls in the nation.

Partners in the campaign include The Times Media Co., Prevent Child Abuse Indiana, Geminus Corp., WJOB, the Regional Mental Health Center, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Indiana and the Lake County Prosecutor's Office.

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