“The NJ Safe Dating Bill” passed UNANIMOUSLY in the Full Senate Vote on Monday 3/21/11. Bi-partisan support and joint efforts were very visible with this Teen Dating Violence Education Bill. The next and last step is anxiously awaiting Governor Christie’s signature.
Not even 1 year ago, Chester Teen Dating Abuse Specialist & NJ State Action Leader for the national orgnization Love is Not Abuse, Dari Dyrness-Olsen proposed the Safe Dating Law to Assemblyman Bucco. She then worked with Assmeblyman Bucco and Assemblyman Wolfe to rewrite the current legislation that was being sponsored by Assemblyman Wolfe to make the bill stronger by “requiring” the Safe Dating Education and more user-friendly for the schools. Dyrness-Olsen testified to the Assembly Education committee last September 2010 and the Senate Education Committee in January 31, 2011 stressing the importance of passing this bill quickly both resulting in unanimous YES votes. She was also present on the voting floor in the Senate Chambers for Monday’s unanimous YES vote. What a great day for NJ Teens!
A2920 is a WIN-WIN law for NJ requiring all middle & high schools, grades 7-12, to develop a dating abuse policy and to add SAFE DATING to their annual health curriculum. The curriculum is FREE and the online staff training is FREE sponsored by Love is Not Abuse. A2920 is extremely significant to NJ because it will protect & educate our kids on how to have healthy relationships and what to do if they suddenly find themselves in an abusive dating situation.
Love is Not Abuse did a study in 2009 finding that 1 in 3 teens is in an abusive dating relationship. Dating abuse has become a national health crisis, which eventually turns into domestic violence. “The goal of A2920 is to stop dating violence before it even begins. 7-12th grades is the perfect time to do this”, states Dyrness-Olsen.
Dyrness-Olsen has found in her specialized counseling practice that kids do not even know when they are being abused or being abusive because it has slowly become the norm in our society. They are starting to date in 4th & 5th grades and digital technology has escalated the amount of abuse & violence seen at the counseling center on a daily basis- constant texting, name-calling, 24/7 control over the other person.
Dyrness-Olsen started educating people about dating abuse because she wanted to be proactive instead of reactive. Kids are not learning about dating abuse at home because the last people they want to talk about dating with are their parents.
There is nothing more important than learning how to have healthy relationships, whether it is with a friend, family member, co-worker, or intimate partner. Relationships are the foundation of our lives.
A2920 the SAFE DATING BILL is going to save lives not only in NJ but across the nation. Dyrness-Olsen hopes it will motivate and set the standard for the rest of the country. Dyrness-Olsen is the owner of Express Yourself Today Counseling Center in Chester, NJ, specializing in dating abuse & date rape and the author of 3 books about SAFE DATING. She is the NJ State Action Leader for the national organization Love is Not Abuse sponsored by Liz Claiborne and she travels around the country educating kids & parents about the importance of safe dating.
info: Dari Dyrness-Olsen, MA, LPC (973)769-2991 [email protected] A2920