Maloney-Bonamici-Adams bill takes on dating violence by Teaching Safe Relationships
WASHINGTON – According to the Department of Justice, more than 290,000 Americans are victims of rape and sexual assault each year, and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 consistently experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence. Three Members of Congress say that the solution starts with teaching safe relationships.
Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), and Alma Adams (NC-12) this week introduced the Teach Safe Relationships Act of 2015 (H.R. 3141). The bill would amend the Elementary and Secondary Schools Act to require “safe relationships behavior” as part of sex education. It also authorizes grants to educate staff and administration and would require all grantees to develop curriculum for young people that promotes safe relationship behavior. The Senate version of the legislation was introduced by Senators Tim Kaine and Claire McCaskill in February.
“Young women and men need to understand what relationship violence is, and where to turn when they have experienced abuse,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “Teaching safe relationships needs to be a part of sexual education curricula, and we should provide schools with the resources they need to reach every student. We need to teach students that help is available, and that violence in any form from the people you love is never acceptable.”
“This bill represents an important step toward creating safer environments and safer relationships for young people,” Congresswoman Bonamici said. “The recent increase in reports of sexual assault on our college campuses is troubling. This bill will begin teaching young people about healthy, safe relationships earlier. It will help them identify bad behavior and take action. Sexual assault and dating violence are serious issues that I am committed to working with schools, advocates, and students to prevent.”
“Far too many young people become victims of dating violence and sexual abuse,” said Congresswoman Adams. “The Teach Safe Relationships Act is much needed legislation that would expose students to the damaging effects of sexual abuse and dating violence. By teaching our students the differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships, we can help ensure young people can make more informed decisions that allow them to maintain healthier relationships, free from abuse and violence.”
The Teach Safe Relationships Act would amend the Elementary and Secondary Schools Act to enhance education and training programs by:
- Adding “safe relationship behavior” as a required form of sex education as defined by the Elementary and Secondary Schools Act.
- Assisting State and local educational agencies and institutions to meet the Title IX requirements of the Educational Amendments of 1972.
- Authorizing grants enabling secondary schools to educate staff and administration, and provide age appropriate educational curricula for students regarding safe relationship behavior.
- Requiring that grantees develop and implement curricula for adolescents that incorporate elements of effective and evidence-based programs that promote safe relationship behavior and prevent teen dating violence, sexual assault, and harassment.
- In addition to being age-appropriate the training and education programs must also be culturally and linguistically appropriate, reflecting the diverse circumstances and realities of young people.