Dating violence prevention legislation becomes law

Legislation aimed at strengthening programs to prevent dating violence is now law.

Gov. Bill Walker has signed House Bill 214, known as Bree’s Law, in memory of Bree Moore, who was killed by dating violence in 2014.

The state’s in-school dating violence prevention program was first authorized in 2015 when legislation was passed to implement Erin’s Law and Bree’s Law in Alaska. Erin’s Law requires schools to offer students sexual assault and prevention curriculum, while Bree’s Law mandates dating violence education. HB 24 changes the name of the current program to the Bree Moore Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Program.

HB 214 requires the state Department of Education and Early Development to work with school districts to develop an education and prevention program focused on youth in grades seven through 12. The bill stipulates that the program include parental notification, training for both teachers and students, and a periodic review to ensure the program is consistent with best practices.

“The goal of Bree’s Law is to show teens how to navigate their inter-personal relationships free from physical and emotional violence,” said Rep. Harriet Drummond, D-Anchorage, the bill’s sponsor.

The bill also designates February as “Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month” in Alaska, to align with national efforts to bring attention to the issue.