The U.S. Senate is currently considering Bree’s Law S. 2364, a new law aimed at preventing teen dating violence on a national level. Teen dating violence is defined as physical, psychological, sexual abuse, harassment, or stalking between people 12-18 years old who are romantically involved.
Bree’s Law was introduced by Alaska Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan on July 15th, 2021. The Bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions for comments, revisions, and approval.
If the committee approves the Bill, the entire Senate will vote to enact or reject the law. After that, the Bill would go to the House of Representatives for approval. If the House passes Bree’s Law, it would then need to be signed into law by the President of the United States.
If Bree’s Law becomes law, it would mark an important step toward recognizing and preventing teen dating violence in the United States.
What is Bree’s Law S. 2364?
Bree’s Law S. 2364 was named after Brianna (Bree) Moore, a young woman who was killed by her boyfriend when she was just 20 years old. Bree’s parents raised awareness about teen dating violence in their home state of Alaska, which led to a state-level version of Bree’s Law.
Just three years after Bree’s Law passed in Alaska, teen dating violence was cut in half!
If passed, Bree’s Law will fund initiatives to educate health care workers and teens about the signs and dangers of teen dating violence, as well as prevention. Education about these issues would be made available for free at middle and high schools throughout the country.
Additionally, an interagency group with the Department of Education, Department of Justice, and Department of Health would work on reducing the incidence rate of teen dating violence. The parents of victims would be included on this committee.
How Common Is Teen Dating Violence?
Teen dating violence is far too common in our communities. According to CDC statistics, 1 in 11 young women and 1 in 15 young men have experienced physical dating violence in the last year. Additionally, 1 in 9 teenage girls and 1 in 36 teenage boys report being victims of sexual violence related to dating.
Teen dating violence can also include unwanted harassment by text messaging or posting of private or embarrassing photos on the internet.
This is why Bree’s Law is so important. Educators, health care workers, and most importantly – teens – need to know the signs of dating violence. This knowledge will help teens avoid bad relationships and help others to do the same.
Who Will Benefit From Bree’s Law S. 2364?
Teen dating violence often has lasting impacts on the lives of victims. Victims of teen dating violence are much more likely to experience mental health problems including:
- Depression and suicidal thoughts
- Substance abuse
Bree’s Law will help teens throughout the country because teen dating violence affects every community. It will also help the families of teens because parents often end up suffering the consequences of teen dating violence.
Bree’s Law may especially help minority groups. Teen dating violence disproportionately impacts certain groups of teens, making Bree’s Law all the more important to creating a safe community for ALL our young people.
What Can I Do To Help Get Bree’s Law Passed?
If you believe in the mission of Bree’s Law S. 2364 and want to help it get passed, you can take action! One of the easiest ways you can help is by contacting your U.S. Senator and telling them that you support Bree’s Law to end teen dating violence. You can find your senator’s contact information here.