In Pennsylvania, nearly ten percent of high school students have already experienced physical abuse from a dating partner.
On average, half of young victims are abused on school campuses.
Teens under 16 still could seek a protection order but would have to do it with parental consent."Based on my personal experience, we, as a whole, cannot be protected from our abusers," Ridge View student Chris Kane said.
"Abusers can freely stalk us, harass us at school and jobs."Lawmakers in a Senate subcommittee postponed voting on the bill, citing concerns with increasing penalties for teens committing dating violence.
The bill also directs schools to implement policies that address dating violence on campus and train staff to respond sensitively and effectively to incidents of abuse.
Students from Ridge View High School in Columbia recently testified before a Statehouse panel supporting legislation that better defines teen dating violence."Statistics show that one in three teenagers will experience teenage dating violence," Ridge View student Micayla Hayden told members of the Senate."This means out of the eight teenagers in our group here today, at least two of us will be physically, emotionally or sexually abused by a dating partner, friend or acquaintance."The school's focus on abuse started out as a project for a group of students after the murder of Rock Hill 18-year-old Sierra Landry. Landry was shot and killed by her estranged boyfriend, Tanner Crolley, in 2013.
Crolley is serving a 30-year prison sentence for her murder.
The teens testified that fractured relationships with parents often keep students from confiding in the adults about what's going on with their boyfriends or girlfriends, such as whether abusive patterns are emerging or getting worse.
Under provisions of the bill, a court would be able to issue a protection order to someone who is 16 or 17, but would be under a 24-hour window to notify a parent or guardian.