State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today announced the Ohio Senate’s unanimous passage of House Bill 94, marking its last legislative stop before Gov. John Kasich’s anticipated signature into law. Jointly sponsored by Rep. Rick Perales (R-Beavercreek), the bipartisan legislation establishes February as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month in Ohio in an effort to raise awareness around teen dating violence in hopes of preventing abuse and helping victims find safety.
“By designating February Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, we are giving light to something that is tragically effecting our youth at high rates,” said Sykes. “Increasing public awareness and raising the profile of this problem in schools, communities and throughout our state will help more people get the help they need to stop the cycle of violence.”
The Office of Criminal Justice Services Family Violence Prevention Center defines dating abuse as a pattern of controlling behavior that someone uses against his or her girlfriend or boyfriend. Abuse can cause injury or even death, but does not have to be physical. One in five children between the ages of 11-14 say their friends are victims of dating violence. Teens who are victims of dating violence are more likely to be depressed and do poorly in school.