Bi-partisan group of state legislators proposes bill to prevent teen dating violence

MADISON, Wis. - A group of bi-partisan state legislators introduced a bill, LRB-5038, Monday to bring dating violence curricula into Wisconsin schools. 

Advocates believe the new legislation is a comprehensive approach to breaking cycles of dangerous teenage dating behavior and lowering the risk of abuse for future generations. 
Teen dating violence is defined by advocates as “a pattern of destructive behaviors used to exert power and control over a dating partner,” according to a press release from End Domestic Abuse WI. 

The release stated dating violence occurs as the highest occurring form of youth violence, with 57 percent of teens knowing someone who has been physically, sexually or verbally abusive in a dating relationship. 

“Each new generation brings enormous potential, particularly during this period when a spotlight is being shined on gendered and sexual violence in many different forms,” Patti Seger, Executive Director of End Domestic Abuse WI said in a press release. “With greater understanding that harmful relationship dynamics take hold during teenage years, we can now more intentionally instill values of equality and mutual respect in the next generation and thereby lower the rate of domestic violence in the future.”

According to the press release, LRB-5038 would require school boards to implement policies addressing dating violence, such as age-appropriate instruction regarding preventing and responding to dating violence and training employees in identifying teen dating violence and receiving incident reports.  

Lead authors of the legislation include Rep. Melissa Sargent (D-Madison), Sen. Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon), Sen. Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) and Representative John Spiros (R-Marshfield), who hope the full Wisconsin Legislature will show this is not a partisan issue by supporting the proposal, Seger said in the release.

According to the press release, if the bill is signed into law, Wisconsin will become one of more than 20 states that have already brought similar curricula into their schools. 

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