Initiative urges NYDOE to establish pilot program to reduce risk of violence among students, particularly athletes
For Immediate Release
October 21, 2014 – New York, NY – Today New York City Council Member Ruben Willsintroduced the Intimate Partner Abuse Primary Prevention Act, an initiative that calls on the Department of Education to establish a domestic abuse awareness and prevention pilot program for students enrolled in the Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL). The act — which also proposes increased funding towards the Human Resources Administration’s (HRA) successful Teen Relationship Abuse Prevention Program (RAPP) — seeks to broaden awareness around the issue of intimate partner abuse among young New Yorkers, particularly the city’s nearly 38,000 student athletes.
Recent news surrounding incidents of intimate partner abuse committed by professional athletes have heightened the public’s consciousness about the prevalence of such abuse within society today. While much of the national dialogue has revolved around the conduct of professional sports athletes, the potential for younger athletes competing at the pre-collegiate level to commit acts of violence against their romantic partners is significant and warrants urgent attention.
According to the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, more than 280,000 incidents of partner abuse were reported to police last year, with 62 family-related homicides occurring city-wide, 13 of which were in Queens. In addition, more than one in ten New York teens cited personal encounters with physical or sexual violence in a relationship. These statistics highlight the urgency of this crisis and the necessity of legislation like the Intimate Partner Abuse Primary Prevention Act, especially in regards to its focus on student athletes.
“The stubbornness of this social ill threatens the safety of young men and women throughout the five boroughs and beyond,” said Council Member Wills. “Every resource must be leveraged to combat it early and vigorously. This bill aims to double-down on RAPP and stem the spread of partner abuse by instilling healthy principles in the minds of our students whose aggression in the spirit of competition may be grossly misdirected if left unmanaged.”