Today Governor Christie signed the NJ SAFE DATING BILL A2920 into law. Thank you so much Governor Christie for keeping our kids dating safe in NJ. About 1 year ago, Chester Teen Dating Abuse Specialist & NJ State Action Leader for the national organization Love is Not Abuse, Dari Dyrness-Olsen called the Governor’s office to ask them how to pass a law. Obviously, they gave her really good advice. Passing a law in less than a year is relatively unheard of in political government.
Dyrness-Olsen had the honor of testifying for the Assembly and the Senate in order to educate them about dating abuse and its devastating consequences. Dyrness-Olsen even had the legislators in tears when she talked about all of the young women who have been needlessly murdered at the hands of dating violence. Dyrness-Olsen told the story of Yeardley Love, who was brutally murdered just one year ago on May 3, 2010 by her boyfriend at the University of Virginia because she tried to break up with him. Both the Assembly and the Senate unanimously voted YES!
A2920 will require all middle and 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. The NJ SAFE DATING LAW will protect and educate teens on how to have a healthy relationship and what to do if they or a friend finds themselves in an abusive dating situation.
Love is Not Abuse reports that 1 in 3 teens is currently in an abusive dating relationship. Digital technology has escalated the amounts of abuse because it enables abusers to have 24/7 control over the other person. “Our children need to be educated so they can protect themselves against the risk of dating abuse. A2920 will do just that. There is nothing more important in life than learning how to have healthy relationships, whether it is with a friend, family member, co-worker, or intimate partner.” states Dyrness-Olsen.
Unfortunately, dating abuse has slowly become the norm in society today. Dyrness-Olsen has seen the devastating effects of dating violence in her specialized counseling practice. Kids are starting to date younger and younger and are naïve to the risks and dangers that surround dating. She urged NJ legislators to be proactive with this legislation instead of reactive. The FBI reports that 30% of young women murdered in our country are killed by boyfriends, husbands, ex-boyfriends or ex-husbands.
“Legislators have the power to address this violent epidemic and help keep our kids safe. Let’s stop dating violence before it even begins” urges Dyrness-Olsen.
A2920 the SAFE DATING LAW is going to save lives in NJ. Dyrness-Olsen hopes that it will motivate and set the standard for the rest of the country to follow in our footsteps!