Preventing Dating Violence Through Education

Lindsay Ann Burke was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 2005. Her mother, Ann wrote the blog below.

Parents are supposed to love, nurture, and protect their children. Most of us assume if we do a good job at parenting, our children will grow up and live long, fruitful lives. We talk to them about the dangers that exist in the world: stranger danger, avoiding peer pressure to use drugs and be sexually active, avoiding teen pregnancy and STD, especially HIV.

Katie Couric's Report on Teen Violence
Most of our children remember what we've taught them and make healthy choices. But how can teens protect themselves from something like dating abuse if they don't know all the facts? And how can parents teach their children about this if they don't know all the facts? So parents, it's up to us to include dating abuse in those oh-so-very-important parent to child discussions using teachable moments and every opportunity to talk with our children.

I truly believe, had Lindsay been properly educated about this topic, and had we, her family and friends, been properly educated, she would still be with us today.

Since Lindsay's death, we created the Lindsay Ann Burke Memorial Fund whose mission it is to support the prevention of dating violence through education.

We offer free workshops to Rhode Island's teachers and we provide free curriculum materials to Rhode Island schools as well. We are also in the process of creating a professional training dvd of our workshops to be made available to middle and high schools so that they may use it to train their staff. In addition, we created as a resource tool for health teachers. But I have heard from many teachers, parents, and some teens, who have read through our website to educate themselves on this topic. Check out the "FACTS" page and our list of website links for parents and teens to learn the warning signs and how to respond to a victim as well as all the other necessary information you will need to fully understand this complicated health problem. Once you are knowledgeable about the topic, then it is time for you to start those conversations with your teens.

During the past few years we have teamed with Liz Claiborne Inc, the National Association of Attorneys General, and the National Foundation of Women Legislators. Both of these organizations have passed a Resolution supporting the Lindsay Ann Burke Act and teen dating violence education in all states.

This law requires that all school districts have a dating violence policy, teach about this topic annually through our health education curriculum in grades 7-12, train school staff in our middle and high schools, and strongly recommends parent trainings.

To learn more about Lindsay's follow the links on our website's homepage. We continue to work close with RI Attorney General Patrick Lynch, who sponsored the Lindsay Ann Burke Act in Rhode Island as we continue the mission of Lindsay's Fund.

My husband, Chris and I also co-founded with Liz Claiborne, MADE, Moms and Dads for Dating Abuse Education. This is an organization of parents, concerned citizens, and organizations who promote dating violence education and work towards passage of the Lindsay Ann Burke Act is other states.