Government of Canada Supports Initiatives to Stop Violence and Support Survivors 

News release

Projects use positive parenting and sport to help prevent child maltreatment and support young survivors of family violence

February 12, 2020             St. Catharines, Ontario               Public Health Agency of Canada

Violence against women and girls is a serious public health issue and one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today. Gender-based and family violence has immediate and long-lasting impacts on the physical and mental health of survivors, as well as lasting consequences for families, communities and society as a whole.

Today, on behalf of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, Member of Parliament Chris Bittle announced more than $1.3 million to support two initiatives aimed at preventing violence against children and supporting young survivors of family violence.                                                                                                         

Brock University’s Shape Your Life project is a trauma-informed, non-contact boxing program designed to aid survivors’ recovery and healing from violence. Phase two of the project, focused on youth, will be delivered in collaboration with three community-based agencies located in the Niagara Region of Ontario, and Edmonton, Alberta. The project aims to reach 200 youth survivors of violence and to train 20 coaches and program leaders. The project builds on the experiences and new evidence developed by a previous iteration of Shape Your Life funded between 2016 and 2019. Results from the first phase showed that the program had significant positive mental and physical health outcomes for cisgender and trans women who have experienced gender-based violence.

The not-for-profit organization Positive Discipline in Everyday Life will be enhancing, delivering and evaluating a child maltreatment prevention program called Positive Discipline in Everyday Parenting. The program was developed in Canada and has been implemented around the world. It will do this by incorporating into the program current knowledge about trauma and violence and its impacts on survivors and families. Positive Discipline in Everyday Life will partner with national and provincial organizations to deliver the program to more than 1260 parents and caregivers in six provinces and train 180 facilitators to help deliver and test the effectiveness of the program.


“Gender-based and family violence can have an impact on every aspect of a survivor’s life, from physical and mental health, to housing and financial security. I am proud to announce the Government of Canada’s support for these two projects, which are using evidence-based and innovative approaches to increase awareness of child maltreatment as well as how to prevent it and support survivors of family violence.”

The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health

“I am very excited for Brock University’s next collaboration that will support youth in Niagara and Edmonton by providing an opportunity to achieve positive health outcomes through Shape Your Life. As we are increasing capacity amongst coaches to better serve young people who have experienced trauma and violence we hope this will leave a sustainable legacy of trained individuals who can continue this much needed-work long after the completion of this project.“

Cathy van Ingen, PhD
Professor, Department of Kinesiology, Brock University

“We are thrilled with this opportunity to strengthen the Positive Discipline in Everyday Parenting program. This made-in-Canada program is being implemented across Canada and around the world.  The program interrupts the intergenerational transmission of violence by helping parents learn non-violent ways of resolving conflict with their children and, in turn, helping their children learn those same skills. We will enhance the program so that it better serves the needs of parents who have been affected by trauma and violence, which includes a large portion of the Canadian population, and their children.”

Joan Durrant, PhD
Executive Director, Positive Discipline in Everyday Life

Quick facts

  • Funding for these projects is provided by the Public Health Agency of Canada as part of its Family Violence Prevention Investment and Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence. The Positive Discipline in Everyday Parenting: A Trauma- and Violence-Informed Approach to Ending Child Maltreatment project is receiving $1 million over five years, and Brock University’s Exploring the health impacts of the Shape Your Life project is receiving $320,000 over two years.

  • Violence against women, girls and LGBTQ2 communities is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations around the world.

    • It is estimated that globally one in three women experiences intimate partner violence in her lifetime.
    • In more than 70 countries, laws that criminalize LGBTQ2 people perpetuate gender‑based violence against members of these communities.
    • In Canada, nearly half of people aged 15 and older who identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual report having experienced childhood physical or sexual abuse, compared to 30% of heterosexual people.

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Thierry Bélair
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada

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