Slain Anchorage woman's parents launch dating violence campaign
It can happen to anyone -- that's the message from two Anchorage parents whose teenage daughter was killed at the hands of her boyfriend in 2014.
Because Butch and Cindy Moore have become so outspoken about their 20-year-old daughter's death, Gov. Bill Walker has designated February as Teen Dating Violence Awareness month.
The Moores are probably best known for Bree's Law, named after their daughter Breanna Moore, slain by boyfriend Joshua Almeda. The legislation, passed in 2015, paved the way for teen dating violence curriculum in Alaska classrooms. It was implemented for the first time this year.
It teaches students the signs of unhealthy relationships, but the Moore's say that coursework has also highlighted a need to follow up with resources.
The couple is paying to print 3,500 poster to send to schools statewide. They include Bree's picture, and numbers to hotlines where students can call and text anonymously.
"Most domestic violence resources are geared for adults, so it's really important that the kids, once they identify and see that maybe they do have a problem in their relationship, that they have a place to go or a person to talk to so they know what to do and how to move on from that situation," explained Cindy Moore.
"And with this campaign and these numbers to text, call or chat, the numbers will be right up in every school," added Butch Moore.
The Moore's hope these visuals will help spread a message about dating violence -- one they wish their own daughter had heard.
"We believe that if Bree was taught this education in school that she would probably be alive today because she would have had the tools," said Cindy.
Bree's death was the tragic end to an abusive relationship Butch and Cindy say they never knew about.
"As far as we were concerned, we did everything right, we were very engaged parents," said Cindy. "And we didn't even see the signs. And that's what we're hoping to teach the parents also is you know what, be aware, watch out for the red flags."
According to the state Department of Health and Social Services, some of those red flags can be forcing a partner to do sexual things or pose for sexual pictures in order to get food, shelter or rides -- or controlling where their partner goes and who they talk to.
"Bree's friends and coworkers who knew she was being abused before she was murdered, said, 'We didn't know what to do, we didn't know who to call,'" Butch said.
Now, with the posters in schools around Alaska, the Moores hope students will know who to call at the first sign that something in a relationship isn't right.
The Moores say they're working with the state to include Bree's story as part of the Alaska curriculum. There's also a bill in the state Legislature right now to legally name the coursework Bree's Law.
For a complete list of dating violence resources, click here.
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