JBWS - Jersey Battered Women's Service
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Youth & School Programs

School Curriculum: In the 1980s, Jersey Battered Women's Service was one of the first of a handful of domestic violence agencies in the country to begin offering high-school presentations and counseling services specifically on dating abuse. Since then, JBWS has been providing prevention education in public, private, and alternative schools. In total, the programs reach about 8,000 students each year. To schedule a school program call 973-267-7520 ext. 136.

Youth groups: JBWS' No2DatingAbuse program staff reach out to youth groups in the community to promote healthy relationships. Over the years, educators have worked with youth at Girl Scout meetings, afterschool programs, club meetings, faith-based groups, recreation centers, neighborhood centers, and summer camps. As a result, youth are learning 1) to recognize warning signs of abusive relationships, 2) how to respond to a friend who is experiencing abuse, 3) how to reach out to family, school and community resources for help, and 4) how to take a leadership role in the prevention of dating and domestic abuse. To schedule a youth presentation call 973-267-7520 ext. 136.

Athletes: The Yellow Card Challenge is a leadership program to engage student athletes in the prevention of dating violence. Through our specialized team education sessions, game day awareness activities, and media campaign, athletes in Morris County are learning new attitudes and skills to stand up against dating abuse and challenge the social norms that promote aggression "off the field." Learn more at No2DatingAbuse.org.

DATING VIOLENCE BILL

SIGNED INTO LAW

On May 5, 2011, Governor Christie today signed legislation sponsored by Assembly Republican members Anthony M. Bucco and Mary Pat Angelini that requires school districts to include information about dating violence in their curriculum.

The bill, A-2920, directs the Department of Education (DOE) to develop a school district dating violence policy and requires districts to provide dating violence education in a school's health curriculum.

"Dating violence is a serious problem among our youth and young adults that continues to be ignored by the media, parents and schools," stated Bucco, R-Morris. "We're all familiar with the saying, 'An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.' In this case, it can save lives.

"Most kids have no idea when they are being verbally or emotionally abused," he continued. "They need to learn what a healthy relationship is and is not."

The curriculum, Bucco said, will teach teens how to get help if they are a target of dating abuse, and will also focus on developing healthy dating relationships, how to help friends in abusive relationships, and encourages parents to get involved and be aware of what is going on in their child's life.

"Our goal is to prevent dating violence before it begins and this new law gives all parties involved the tools they need to accomplish that," added Bucco. The bill is the fifth piece of legislation the freshman legislator has had signed into law.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a nationwide survey of students in grades 9-12 shows that nearly one in 10 students reported being hit or physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend at least once in the past 12 months.

"One in 3 teens will be in an abusive dating relationship before the end of high school. That's alarming," said Angelini, R-Monmouth. "The fact that parents are usually the last to discover their son or daughter is in such a relationship is very problematic and indicates that both teens and their parents need to be better educated on this issue.

"While parents must ultimately take responsibility for protecting their children by paying close attention to their behavior and engaging them in communication, legislators also have a responsibility to protect the public safety. With various studies showing a high incidence of dating violence among our youth, this law is common sense legislation that will help protect our children."

Under the legislation, each school district must implement the policy developed by the task force, which must contain, at a minimum, the following components:

* a statement that dating violence will not be tolerated;

* dating violence reporting procedures;

* guidelines for responding to at-school incidents of dating violence;

* discipline procedures specific to at-school incidents of dating violence;

* warning signs of dating violence; and

* information on safe, appropriate school, family, peer and community resources available to address dating violence.

The legislation also requires boards of education to incorporate dating violence education that is age appropriate into the health education curriculum as part of the district's implementation of the Core Curriculum Content Standards in Comprehensive Health and Physical Education for students in grades 7 through 12. The dating violence education will include information on the definition of dating violence, recognizing dating violence warning signs, and the characteristics of healthy relationships.

In Morris County, JBWS has provided education programs in the high school since the 1980s and reaches about 8,000 students per year. It's Dating Abuse Prevention Program (DAPP) includes a comprehensive counseling and education component for students (grades 7 – 12), parents and school personnel.

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