In Indiana, 10% of teens have been physically or sexually abused by a date.
This year Senator Earline Rogers (D-Gary) successfully ushered a new law through the General Assembly requiring the Indiana Department of Education (DOE) to develop models for Indiana schools to better educate students about the serious reality of dating violence. Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 316 requires the DOE, in collaboration with organizations that have expertise in dating violence, domestic violence and sexual abuse, to develop or identify these models by July 1, 2011 and to assist schools with the implementation of the dating violence education programs and policies for grades 6 through 12.
Dating violence is a serious problem that continues to get worse. By educating young people about it, we can help prevent dating violence before it happens. – Sen. Earline Rogers
SEA 316 is named for Heather Norris, who was brutally murdered by her estranged high school boyfriend in 2007.
The driving force for passage of SEA 316 was Debbie Norris, mother of Heather Norris. Since Heather’s murder, Debbie has campaigned for expanded teen dating violence education in an effort to protect more young people from the death suffered by her daughter. Heather’s Law was developed through a collaboration of community service providers including Domestic Violence Network, Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Children’s Bureau, Washington Township Schools, and the Indiana Department of Education.
SEA 316 was approved by the Senate and House of Representatives before being signed into law by Governor Mitch Daniels on March 18. The ceremonial signing of Heather’s Law will take place on Monday, April 12, 2010.
On a related note… Indiana Youth Institute President and CEO Bill Stanczykiewicz recently took the opportunity of prom season to address the issue of teen dating violence in a guest column printed in the Evansville Courier-Press.
Prom season has arrived, reminding us that respectful dating can be a healthy activity for teens.
But a serious problem threatens to take the bloom off the corsage. Teen dating violence devastates kids and relationships. A familiar cause remains all too common. Too many parents remain unaware… Read more