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Dating Violence Education Bill Gets Support At Hearing

Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence Advocates Says Education Programs Are Effective In Other States


A bill to require public schools to teach students about the dangers of teen dating violence is getting strong support from sexual assault and domestic violence prevention groups.

The bill would require schools to teach teens what is and what isn’t a healthy dating relationship and to establish policies that address dating violence. At a hearing on the bill this week, Tony Gibart of End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin said such policies have proven effective in schools where they’ve been adopted.

“It actually does change behavior,” Gibart said. “It makes kids safer when it’s done in conjunction with that education component.”

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Domestic violence survivor Teri Nicolai said teaching teens to end abusive relationships before they get violent will eventually reduce the need to fund shelters for domestic violence victims.

“We need to stop the problem before it starts,” said Nicolai. “I believe that we won’t need that funding as much in the future. If we keep putting a Band-Aid on the problem, we’re going to constantly need that funding.”

Twenty-two other states have adopted similar requirements for integrating dating violence prevention units into the high school curriculum.