Rhode island dating violence

28-Jan-2015 07:22 by 9 Comments

Rhode island dating violence

Ann Burke saw signs of trouble with her daughter's boyfriend.

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Beginning with this school year, a new law called the Lindsay Ann Burke Act requires all public middle and high schools in Rhode Island to teach students about dating violence in their health classes.The initiative was spearheaded by Burke and her husband, Chris, who say schools should be obligated to teach teens the warning signs of abusive relationships and broach the subject head-on so victims feel empowered to get help and leave violent partners.'This could happen to anyone' "If this could happen to her, this could happen to anyone," said Ann Burke, a health teacher who runs a memorial fund to raise money for dating violence workshops for parents and educators.One other state, Texas, mandates unspecified awareness education on dating violence for students and parents, while several other states encourage it.But the Rhode Island measure goes further by requiring the topic be incorporated annually into the curriculum for students in seventh through 12th grade.Burke says such education would have allowed her daughter to recognize the danger in her relationship earlier.

Though her daughter left her boyfriend several times, she didn't change her phone number or have a plan for safely cutting off contact for good. Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch, who shepherded the proposal through the legislature last year, said domestic violence is a disturbingly common crime, yet education about it is scarce and haphazard.She also believed she could be friends with her boyfriend if the romance ended. "You teach sex ed, you teach 'don't do drugs,' you teach 'don't drink,' you should also be teaching 'don't be a victim of domestic violence,' " said Lynch, whose office receives about 5,000 cases a year.Gaining traction around nation The law is gaining traction around the country, with members of the National Association of Attorneys General unanimously adopting a resolution encouraging the education in their states.Nebraska's top prosecutor said he intends to submit legislation modeled after Rhode Island's law, and apparel maker Liz Claiborne Inc. The education focuses as much on nurturing good relationships as avoiding abusive ones.In a recent sophomore health class at South Kingstown High School, teacher Karen Murphy reviewed communication skills for friendships and romantic relationships, including waiting until you're calm before confronting someone with a problem and openly expressing your feelings."You've just found out that somebody spread a rumor about you and you approach them at their locker," Murphy told the class.