Spearheaded by by ally Representative Jules Bailey, The Oregon legislature is moving forward on ground-breaking initiative, The Healthy Teen Relationships Act (HTRA – OR HB 4077). Nationally, 1 in 10 adolescents report being a victim of physical dating abuse. Learning about healthy relationships is a long-term investment that can shape healthy adult relationships and families. Teaching teens about healthy relationships can help to prevent future domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, promote their future career/educational development, and more. This bill is a bipartisan effort to address the issue of teen dating violence, especially in our schools. The bill directs school districts to have a response policy to the issues of dating violence among teens. It also creates a fund, separate from the state’s General Fund, that can accept private moneys to do a longitudinal study on teen violence and the effectiveness of healthy relationship education.
As HTRA moves through the House Human Services Committee on its way to Ways and Means to get funding for its survey component, the bill has garnered enthusiastic support from the Oregon community as well as from prevention advocates across the country (including PAVE) who are hoping HTRA sets a precedent that other states and perhaps even the feds will follow. If you are reading from Oregon, please contact your representative and let them know how important HTRA is to you!