October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and in honor of that and the passage of House Bills 10 and 19, Attorney General Richard Cordray has teamed up with the Ohio Domestic Violence Network to release “Teen Relationship Violence: A Resource Guide to Safety.”

House Bill 19, which was passed by a largely partisan voted of 62-35, was named after teenager Tina Croucher who was murdered by her former boyfriend in 1992.  The bill was introduced by State Rep. Sandra Stabile Harwood (D-Niles) and requires schools to teach dating abuse prevention in health classes.  House Bill 10, introduced by State Rep. Edna Brown (D-Toledo), permits juveniles to get a civil protection order to against those who threaten them.

From ODVN’s press release:

“Research has demonstrated that an Ohio teen is more likely to be injured because of domestic or teen-dating violence than a car accident,’’ said Melinda Swan, chair of the Ohio Domestic Violence Network board. “Just as we try to teach young people safe driving tips, we also must make an all-out effort to educate them on how to stay safe in the face of interpersonal violence."

Teens, just as adults, should not have to tolerate violence or harassment from the ones who claim to love them,’’ Cordray said. “Knowing how to protect one’s self and standing up to violence is crucial to promoting safe and healthy relationships.’’

Research shows that 1 in 5 teens who have been in a serious relationship report being hit, slapped or pushed by a partner. Teen girls, significantly more often than boys, report experiencing severe violence such as being choked, beaten or burned. And adolescent girls in physically abusive relationships were 3.5 times more likely to become pregnant than non?abused girls.

ODVN developed the 38-page guide for not only teens but also parents, schools and health care professionals who respond to teen relationship violence, said Nancy Grigsby, ODVN’s Director of Economic Empowerment.

“The guide makes it clear that there is something important everyone can do to respond to teen relationship violence,’’ Grigsby explained. “This is largely new territory, full of complex dilemmas, and we hope this new information helps practitioners help teens more effectively.’’

The guide tells teens how to spot the warning signs of relationship violence and offers advice on how to best craft a safety plan. Effective plans must be personalized, based on details of the abuse the specific to all aspects of the victim’s life. The guide advises teens how to minimize the risks posed by social networking sites. Among the advice:

· Do not accept a friend of a friend on Facebook, MySpace or other networking sites. You should be friends with only those you know personally because your abuser could obtain information about you through third party sources.

· Consider disabling your social networking sites if you feel it will increase your safety.

· If your abuser can access your computer, be careful which websites you visit. If you are seeking help with the abuse, use a computer at the library or other safe place.

For additional help or to develop a personalized safety plan, teens can call a domestic violence hotline or the National Teen Abuse Helpline 866-331-9474/866-331-8453 TTY.

Sometimes we get caught in the campaigns, particularly in the 24-hour/never ending cycling of campaigning, it seems that we forget the important things we do in governing.

I would love to know why a majority of the Republicans in the House opposed HB 19.  I’d like to see them campaign on it as a vision of the kind of Ohio they’d give us if they had been in charge still.

Seriously, how could you vote against this bill?

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