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Bill requiring personal finance, sexual violence prevention instruction in public schools advances
New Hampshire Bulletin April 26, 2022
A bill to require personal finance literacy and sexual violence prevention instruction in New Hampshire schools is closer to becoming law after passing the Senate unanimously last week.
The bill would also mandate that schools include instruction in “prevention of sexual violence” – a move praised by the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. The bill replaces an earlier effort this session to include that instruction in a separate bill – House Bill 1533 – which was unanimously killed by the House in March.
“Sexual violation prevention education has an immediate effect on families,” said Pamela Keilig, the public policy specialist for the coalition, at a Senate hearing earlier this month. “Students learn about healthy relationships and unhealthy behaviors, such as grooming, through this curriculum.”
Seacoast Online April 21, 2022
A former New Hampshire teacher of the year finalist is facing felony charges, accused of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old student last year in what is the first criminal case brought under a new state law.
The New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence supported the bill.
Pamela Keilig, the coalition’s policy specialist, said the law sends a “clear message that it is never appropriate for a teacher to engage in sexual contact with a student.”
“This legislation was critical in advancing protections for survivors in our state and ensures that all students in a primary or secondary educational setting are protected, even if they have turned 18,” Keilig said. “Youth have the right to learn in a safe environment and should never fear being exploited by adults who are in a position of trust and authority over them.”
New Hampshire Bulletin April 15, 2022
The New Hampshire Senate passed two bills protecting victims of human trafficking on Thursday. Both received bipartisan support and passed on the consent calendar without discussion.
The state’s current human trafficking statute is often used to provide this kind of protection to victims of human trafficking, according to Lyn Schollett, executive director of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.
“This bill continues this legacy by striking the right balance between making sure human trafficking cases can be effectively prosecuted, while also recognizing the complex and nuanced reality experienced by human trafficking victims,” Schollett told lawmakers during a public hearing on the bill.
NH Patch April 15, 2022
A teacher from Amherst, indicted in Rockingham County, is the first to face sexual assault charges due to changes to New Hampshire law to ensure teachers, psychologists, and others with authority do not have sex with students.
Amanda Grady Sexton, the director of public affairs for the NH Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence, said the Legislature saw the need to approve the changes because “it’s never appropriate for a teacher to engage in sexual contact with a student.” She said these types of relationships were inherently abusive because teachers hold power over students.
“Our K-12 educators are in a position of trust and authority over students — they are not peers regardless of the age of the student,” she said. “The power teachers hold creates a situation where students cannot truly consent to any type of romantic or sexual relationship.”
WMUR April 11, 2022
Gov. Chris Sununu signed an executive order Monday to bring back the commission on preventing domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.
"The group assembled by this commission really is the right group of stakeholders not only to be improving New Hampshire’s statewide response to abuse, but just as important to focus on critical state-wide prevention efforts,” said Pamela Keilig, of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.
Keilig said response and prevention will require resources, which she hopes the state is serious about providing.
“I think this is a really important step that we are taking as a state,” Keilig said.
Union Leader April 7, 2022
The lead lawyer for nearly 500 victims of alleged sexual and physical abuse at the Youth Development Center said he would recommend his clients refuse to bring their claims to an independent administrator rather than sue for damages unless lawmakers make significant changes to a House-passed bill.
The New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence sought another change — an expansion of the definition of sexual abuse to include incidents in which there was no sexual contact or penetration.
“We heard from victims who were subjected to acts of sexual harassment, human trafficking, lewdness and indecent exposure,” said Amanda Grady Sexton, the director of public affairs for the coalition, in a letter to the committee.
“Victims shared with us that employees of YDC/Sununu Center would expose their genitals in front of them and threaten sexual abuse.”
Grady Sexton wrote that other victims said they were often forced to shower with other children for the sexual gratification of a YDC employee who was watching.