Senator Leyva Launches "Healthy Relationships and Safe Schools Act"

SB 592 Seeks to Prevent Adolescent Relationship Abuse

Friday, February 27, 2015

SACRAMENTO – Earlier today, Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) introduced legislation that tackles adolescent relationship abuse by promoting education on healthy relationships in schools.

Co-sponsored by the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence and the Women’s Foundation of California Policy Institute, SB 592 also requires school safety plans to include procedures and policies to prevent and respond to incidents of adolescent relationship abuse in middle and high schools.  This important bill also requires schools to train staff and administrators regarding adolescent relationship abuse and compels them to provide annual notice to parents and guardians of the adolescent relationship abuse policies and available community-based resources.

A major study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year.  According to the California Student Survey (CSS), 3% of 9th graders and 7% of 11th graders reported at least one incident of physical dating violence.  

“All students deserve a safe learning environment and SB 592 is a vital part of making sure that we tackle teen dating abuse in California schools and communities,” Senator Leyva said.  “Whenever young people are suffering through this type of abuse, their grades oftentimes suffer and may be more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors, such as using drugs and alcohol.  In worst case scenarios, they may even contemplate suicide.  SB 592 is urgently needed to address this ongoing problem

As SB 592 co-sponsor, the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence clearly understands the critical need for this legislation.

“Passing this bill will not only give schools the tools to address dating abuse—already a significant problem teens are experiencing—it will also create a life-long foundation for safe and respectful partnerships by teaching healthy relationship skills. We are pleased that Senator Leyva felt the same urgency we did to make this important investment in California’s youth,” noted Kathy Moore, Executive Director at the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence.

SB 592 will be considered in Senate policy committee(s) this spring.