HARTFORD, CT) – Senator Toni Boucher (R-Wilton), Senator Eileen Daily (D-Westbrook), and Representative Larry Cafero (R-Norwalk) will seek support for H.B. 6494, a bill that calls for school districts across the state to integrate teen dating violence education into health curriculums, at a Joint Education Committee Public Hearing today in Hartford. Thanks to the efforts of local teen advocates from the Brien McMahon High School, Stamford High School and Greenwich High School, Boucher, Daily, and Cafero are leading legislative and awareness efforts in Connecticut along with the National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL) and Liz Claiborne Inc.’s (MADE) Moms and Dads for Education to Stop Teen Dating Abuse. By making dating violence prevention a standard part of the health curriculum in middle school and high school, the legislation will provide students with the knowledge to avoid violent dating relationships and to help others do the same. It will also provide students with access seven hours a day, five days a week to school staff who have been trained to offer advice, guidance and resources to teens in violent dating relationships.
“It is through education and conversations that we can help prevent this violence from beginning,” Boucher stated. “It is critical that we do not abandon our teens during this time of national economic downturn. We must find cost-effective ways to implement important educational programs that will allow us to make certain our children grow into healthy adults.”
“This Hearing will allow us to join our colleagues and hear from expert witnesses and victims of dating abuse so that we can work together to ensure our youth are armed with the information and support that they need to build healthy relationships, and ultimately save lives,” Daily stated.
According to Connecticut’s Department of Public Health, 13% of teens surveyed in Connecticut say they have experienced physical teen dating violence and the state ranks 9th in the nation for teen dating violence. In a recent survey commissioned by Liz Claiborne Inc., data revealed one in five teens between the ages of 13 and 14 (20%) say their friends are victims of dating violence and nearly half of all tweens (11-14 year-olds) in relationships say they know friends who are verbally abused.
At NFWL’s Annual Conference, Boucher (who is Chair of NFWL’s National Policy Committee on Healthcare), along with elected women from across the nation, joined forces with Liz Claiborne Inc.’s Love is Not Abuse campaign (which offers a curriculum free of charge) as well as the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) to raise awareness about the issue of teen dating violence and solutions to curb the spread of this silent threat.
“By proposing this teen dating abuse legislation in Connecticut, Senator Boucher, Senator Daily, and Representative Cafero have shown their continued dedication to raising awareness on this issue,” stated Robin Read, President & CEO of NFWL. “They are working to change thought nationwide, bringing much needed attention to these acts of violence that often go unnoticed until a young woman is found badly injured or worse, murdered.”
“It is vital that all sectors of society come together to address this issue and break the cycle of abuse,” said Jane Randel, Vice President of Corporate Communications for Liz Claiborne Inc. “We fully support the commitment of Senator Boucher, Senator Daily, and Representative Cafero to legislation encouraging education on teen dating abuse in all middle and high schools in Connecticut.”
Liz Claiborne Inc.’s MADE is a national coalition that consists of parents, teachers and concerned citizens who are advocating for every high school and middle school in the country to teach a curriculum about preventing dating relationship violence and abuse. As part of this effort, MADE members will ask every mom and dad in Connecticut, as well as educators and anyone concerned about this issue, to support efforts to ensure that teen dating violence curricula is taught in every middle school and high school in their state.
About the Center for Youth Leadership
The Center for Youth Leadership (CYL) and its network of 300 high school students in Fairfield County has been working on teen dating violence since 2004 and was instrumental in proposing teen dating violence legislation to state lawmakers in November 2008. CYL has published the only state-wide report on dating violence and conducts two dating violence public awareness activities a month during the school year.
About the National Foundation For Women Legislators, Inc. (NFWL)Through annual educational and networking events, the National Foundation for Women Legislators supports women legislators from all levels of governance. As a non-profit, non-partisan organization, NFWL does not take ideological positions on public policy issues, but rather serves as a forum for women legislators to be empowered through information and experience.
Liz Claiborne Inc.Since 1991 Liz Claiborne Inc. has been working to end domestic violence. Through its Love Is Not Abuse program, the company provides information and tools that men, women, children, teens and corporate executives can use to learn more about the issue and find out how they can help end this epidemic. www.loveisnotabuse.com.