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Fact Sheet: Teach Safe Relationships Act of 2015


Teach Safe Relationships Act of 2015

Background: It’s widely recognized that relationship violence and campus sexual assault are major issues facing our nation. According to the Department of Justice more than 290,000 Americans are victims of rape and sexual assault each year with young women between the ages of 16 and 24 consistently experiencing the highest rate of intimate partner violence. Secondary schools can play an important role in increasing public safety by educating students about relationship behavior and dating violence, but comprehensive health education courses are not required to include these topics, even though similar requirements for including age appropriate content and abstinence-only education already exist.

Safe relationship behavior education is age-appropriate education that promotes safe relationships and teaches students to recognize and prevent physical and emotional relationship abuse, including teen and adolescent dating violence, domestic abuse, sexual violence and sexual harassment. This includes education regarding consent as well as emotional health and well-being in relationships.

This bill builds upon the work done in the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act to develop and implement prevention and intervention policies in middle and high schools, including appropriate procedures for students who are experiencing or perpetrating domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, or sex trafficking.

This legislation would require safe relationship behavior education to be included if comprehensive health education is taught in secondary schools and would authorize a grant program to enhance safe relationship behavior promotion and training.

The Teach Safe Relationships Act would amend the Elementary and Secondary Schools Act to enhance education and training programs by:

  • Adding “safe relationship behavior” as a required  form of sex education as defined by the Elementary and Secondary Schools Act.
  • Assisting State and local educational agencies and institutions to meet the Title IX requirements of the Educational Amendments of 1972.
  • Authorizing grants enabling secondary schools to educate staff and administration, and provide age appropriate educational curricula for students regarding safe relationship behavior.
  • Requiring that grantees develop and implement curricula for adolescents that incorporate elements of effective and evidence-based programs that promote safe relationship behavior and prevent teen dating violence, sexual assault, and harassment.

In addition to being age-appropriate the training and education programs must also be culturally and linguistically appropriate, reflecting the diverse circumstances and realities of young people.