Murkowski, Sullivan Introduce Legislation to Combat Teen Dating Violence
U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, both R-Alaska, introduced Bree’s Law, S. 2364. The legislation—named after Breanna (Bree) Moore, a 20-year-old Alaskan who was murdered by her boyfriend in 2014—drives education initiatives to enable youth, parents, and advocates to recognize, prevent, and mitigate teen dating violence.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 1 in 11 female and 1 in 14 male high school students have reported experiencing physical dating violence in the last year.
“The rates of domestic and dating violence in Alaska are some of the highest in our nation, including among our youth. The murder of Bree Moore was more than an isolated tragedy, it represents a pervasive and devastating issue that is impacting young men and women throughout Alaska and the United States. We teach our children and teens countless safety measures—to wear their seatbelts and avoid strangers. Teaching them how to recognize and avoid the dangers of an abusive relationship should be no different. Education is key in helping eliminate dating violence among future generations and to prevent families from experiencing devastating tragedy,” said Senator Murkowski. “What happened to Bree should never have happened, but I commend and respect Bree’s parents, Cindy and Butch, for their steadfast efforts to use her tragic loss to help create a safer world for others. I’m proud to join them in that effort.”
“The murder of Breanna Moore was absolutely horrific, a tragedy that sadly happens far too often in Alaska and across this country,” said Senator Dan Sullivan. “In spite of the unspeakable grief Breanna’s parents have experienced throughout this nightmare, Butch and Cindy did something remarkable—using Breanna’s memory to bring new light to the scourge of dating violence. Thanks to Butch and Cindy’s tireless advocacy, Senator Murkowski and I are introducing ‘Bree’s Law,’ legislation to create programs that will educate teens and parents about dating violence and also authorize grants to ensure that health care providers are trained to recognize the signs of intimate partner violence. By increasing education and awareness around this kind of violence, we hope to prevent more of our young people from suffering the same tragic end as Breanna.”
“In 2014 our daughter Bree Moore was murdered by her boyfriend when she was barely 20 years old. The unspeakable tragedy that befell Bree, helped shine a light on the epidemic of teen dating violence, dating violence, and domestic violence not only in Alaska but across the United States. In an effort to stop the violence, we passed two ‘Bree’s Law’ Bills into Alaska Law; the first required Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention be taught in Alaska schools and the second; developed curricula specifically for Alaska. Teen Dating Violence has dropped significantly; Bree’s Law is working in Alaska. What is it worth to save your daughter, granddaughter or any young woman from being murdered? What is it worth to prevent your son, grandson or any young man from spending the rest of his life in prison? We would do anything to prevent this from happening. Please stand with Senators Murkowski and Sullivan and pass Bree’s Law which will reduce murder and violence by developing Bree’s Law Education and make it available nationwide, teaching teens how to develop healthy relationships, practice supportive communication skills, recognize the warning signs of an abusive relationship, and where to go for help,” said Butch & Cindy Moore, Bree’s Parents.
“Teen dating violence prevention education is an important tool in stopping interpersonal violence among youth. Bree’s Law has educated youth in Alaska about the warning signs of dating violence and abusive behavior while focusing on developing healthy relationships. Education is key to preventing teen violence and Bree’s Law is helping ensure a safer future for this generation and the next. Southcentral Foundation supports the implementation of this bill on a national level,” said April Kyle, Southcentral Foundation Interim President/CEO.
“Youth in foster care are at an incredibly high risk for teen dating violence and abuse. This bill advocates for the implementation of teen dating violence and abuse prevention and equips youth with tools to respond and be kept safe. Prevention is key. Beacon Hill fully endorses Senator Murkowski's efforts to implement Bree’s Law on a National level, so that this curriculum can be made available across all states,” said Kristen Bierma, Executive Director, Beacon Hill.
“Middle school, high school, and university offer important opportunities to educate young men and women about dating violence. Experiences in school and on campuses will be carried forth to everyday life and will influence future actions. Therefore, every effort to inform students may mean one less victim abused or one less crime committed. I fully support the passage of this Bree’s Law Bill,” said Anne Seymour, National Crime Victim/Survivor & Advocate, WADC.
For a one-pager on the bill, click here.
Senator Murkowski’s legislation would amend the Public Health Service Act to rename a formerly authorized demonstration grant as ‘Bree’s Law’. This demonstration grant program would allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services to carry out demonstration grants for the purpose of improving adolescent health to train healthcare providers in providing services to adolescents. The bill also aims to teach teens where to go for help if they experience dating violence, how to build healthy relationships, how to practice positive communication skills, and to recognize and prevent abusive relationships from the start.