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A Louisiana lawmaker is pushing a dating violence bill - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

A Louisiana lawmaker is pushing a dating violence bill

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A Louisiana lawmaker is taking steps to help offer more protection to teenage domestic violence victims. It is an education bill that he is hoping to incorporate into schools in an effort to work against dating violence. 

Domestic violence doesn't just happen between a married couple.  Those in unhealthy dating relationships at any age can be subject to a violent abuser who hurts, scares or threatens them. And abuse isn't just physical.  It can be a pattern of controlling behaviors that one person uses against the other in order to obtain power and control.

 "Yes it is a big problem. It's been a hidden problem for a long time but fortunately, increased awareness is helping to bring this issue to light," said  Marriage and Family therapist Kathleen Rhodes. 

The numbers that are actually reported are alarming. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 9% of high school students have reported being physically assaulted by a romantic partner.
22% of girls under 18 admit to being the victims of physical violence, being stalked by their partner or being raped.   And 15 %of boys between the ages of 11 and 17 say they've experienced some form of partner violence.

Now, Representative Herbert Dixon of Alexandria, Louisiana is trying to pass House bill 178. 
The proposed bill is a measure that would provide guidelines to all schools on  the definition of dating violence. How to address it involving students. Including counseling and notification of law enforcement. And to provide information to parents relative to dating violence.


"This is happening so often in middle school and high school so it is nothing that we can take for granted," said Dixon.

Dixon is modeling the bill after Act 322.  The present law on dating violence that requires all public and charter schools to provide students in grades 7th through 12th  enrolled in health education class, additional instruction relative to dating violence. And to help students identify the signs of abuse; warnings signs, as well as the characteristics of healthy relationships.


"This educational component, this law was passed in 2010, the problem is that it is not really not being fulfilled. And so my bill is going to try to put some gentle teeth into it. Not something that is going to cost school boards disproportionate number of dollars that they don't have. It is not going to inundate teachers and administrators with time that they have to take away from their instructional time, but it is going to be a safety component that we all will be better off for," said Dixon .


Rhodes is hoping the proposed bill sheds light on these young victims of abuse and encourages them to seek help.  "Sometimes if you are involved in a violence dating relationship early on it can set the tone for future relationships. You may come to think, well that's the way it is supposed to be, so you go into your next relationship thinking that's the norm," said Rhodes.


The 2014 regular sessions ends on June 2nd.  The State of Louisiana is one state that allows those in dating relationships to seek out a protective order against their abusers.


 

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