Projects help prevent teen and youth dating violence in Canada, including rural and Indigenous communities


On April 30, 2019, Pam Damoff, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, on behalf of the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, announced the Government of Canada’s support for seven projects to help end gender‑based violence.

As part of its Preventing Gender-Based Violence – The Health Perspective program, which supports Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence, the Public Health Agency of Canada will be investing more than $40 million over five years, and more than $9 million per year ongoing, to prevent gender-based violence.

This includes investing more than $6.4 million in the seven projects announced today to support the delivery and testing of programs to prevent teen and youth dating violence in communities across Canada.

1.    Boys and Girls Clubs (BGC) of Canada: Preventing Teen Dating Violence: Engaging BGC Youth in Building Safe and Healthy Relationships

Boys and Girls Clubs are located in vulnerable communities, serving youth who face multiple risk factors for teen dating violence. This positions Boys and Girls Clubs to have a significant influence in helping to prevent youth violence.

This national project will develop, deliver and test a dating violence prevention program at eight clubs with 300 students in grades seven to nine, with the potential to ultimately support all 650 clubs located across the country. This project will also address an important gap in knowledge and evidence about the effectiveness of community-based teen dating violence prevention programs. PHAC is contributing $574,563 over four years to support this project.

2.    Calgary & Area Child Advocacy Centre (CCAC): Being Trauma Aware Phase 2

Through this project, CCAC will build on the first phase of its Being Trauma Aware (BTA) initiative. BTA is an online, trauma-informed program that aims to improve understanding of the physical and mental health effects of child maltreatment by equipping front-line service providers so that they can deliver safe and appropriate care to survivors of trauma and abuse. Created in 2016 with funding from PHAC, the program was piloted with more than 400 participants in Alberta. This project will enhance and expand BTA for access by a network of child advocacy centres, their partners, and community stakeholders across the country to provide resources and increase knowledge on trauma and child abuse. PHAC is contributing $866,682 over five years to support this project.

3.    Canadian Women’s Foundation: Building the Field – Teen Healthy Relationships

Through this project, the Canadian Women’s Foundation aims to enhance communication and collaboration amongst health professionals, researchers, policy makers, youth serving agencies, funders, Indigenous communities, and youth working to prevent and address teen and youth dating violence. This will be achieved through the creation of a First Nations, Métis and Inuit Working Group and a network of regional hubs, as well as the development of a youth engagement strategy.

Throughout the project, the Foundation expects to directly engage with 50 diverse organizations. By leveraging the working group and regional hub partners, they will expand the reach of the project to 750 organizations across the country. PHAC is contributing $999,800 over five years to support this project.

4.    Coaching Association of Canada: Preventing and Addressing Gender‑Based Violence in Sport

The influence of coaches in the lives of youth is well documented. Coaches are in a unique position to step in and stop parts of sport culture that may contribute to unhealthy relationship behaviour. The proposed project will develop, implement and evaluate an intervention, available in English and French, to assist coaches in recognizing, preventing and addressing gender-based violence and teen dating violence, and to promote healthy relationships in and through sport.

Online educational resources and a toolkit for coaches will support approximately 6,000 coaches across Canada to address issues such as bystander empowerment, men and boys as allies in the prevention of violence, and locker room gender-based violence. The resources and tools will also be shared with Canada’s 82 National Sport and Multisport Service Organizations to complement efforts to address abuse, harassment and discrimination in sport. PHAC is contributing $935,576 over five years to support this project.

5.    Liard Aboriginal Women's Society: The Tsʼídāne a ̄́ ʼ nezen: Youth for Dignity in Relationships.

Through this project, the Liard Aboriginal Women's Society aims to address gender-based and relationship violence among youth in Watson Lake, Yukon. Watson Lake is an isolated First Nations community that has experienced high rates of family and youth violence. The project will support 100 students from grades eight to twelve at Watson Lake Secondary School. The focus will be on increasing students’ understanding and knowledge of the issues and causes of gender-based violence and unhealthy relationships. Youth will be involved throughout the development and delivery of the project, beginning with a youth advisory forum to inform the project’s goals and objectives.

This project will also examine the impact that culturally relevant and youth-led programming can have on reducing gender-based and relationship violence, while increasing the connection youth have with Kaska culture. PHAC is contributing $987,556 over five years to support this project.

6.    Planned Parenthood Ottawa: Building healthy relationships: Preventing teen dating violence through skills-based education

Through this project, Planned Parenthood Ottawa will design, implement and evaluate a series of classroom-based workshops for students in grades eight and nine to reduce teen dating violence among youth of all genders. Through extensive youth engagement and consultation, Planned Parenthood Ottawa hopes to prevent dating violence by teaching new skills with a focus on increasing awareness and understanding of healthy relationships.

The project will be supported by York University and implemented in partnership with the Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women. The project will support approximately 950 students aged 12 to 14 directly, and an additional 1,260 people indirectly (450 parents or guardians, 90 school staff, and an additional 720 students). PHAC is contributing $954,220 over five years to support this project.

7.    Université du Quebec à Montréal: +PYRP (Positive Youth Relationships Program):

The Université du Québec à Montréal will develop, deliver and test a violence prevention intervention to support students in grades nine and ten by promoting healthy relationships and addressing the root causes of teen dating violence. The school-based intervention will be delivered in English and French and tested in urban and rural settings throughout the province of Quebec, engaging an estimated 1,650 youth.

In addition to a peer-led program and a curriculum component to help youth identify and understand the impacts of teen dating violence, training will be provided to equip educators, school administrators and parents or caregivers to safely and effectively address and respond to teen dating violence. PHAC is contributing $1,221,088 over four years to support this project.

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