Family Violence Prevention Investment: Currently funded projects
Supporting the health of survivors of family violence
Family violence, including child maltreatment, intimate partner violence (IPV) and children's exposure to IPV, can have serious and lasting impacts on physical and mental health.
The Public Health Agency of Canada's Family Violence Prevention Investment is a national grants and contributions program focused on preventing and reducing the health impacts of family violence.
Projects currently funded through this investment are delivering and evaluating health promotion interventions designed to improve health outcomes for survivors of family violence.
The investment is also supporting projects that build the capacity of health and social service professionals to work safely and effectively with survivors of family violence. Funded projects reach children, youth and families affected by violence, as well as professionals and service providers, while helping to learn and share "what works" in this emerging field.
Funds for this investment are currently fully allocated.
Current funded projects
- Knowledge Hub: Maximizing Impact by Connecting Research and Practice in Trauma-Informed Health Promotion
- Being trauma aware: Making a difference in the lives of children & youth (completed)
- Bounce Back League (BBL)
- Building connections: A group intervention for mothers and children experiencing violence in relationships
- Building internal resilience through horses
- Collaborative Approaches for Supporting Survivors of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) (completed)
- iHEAL in context: Testing the effectiveness of a health promotion intervention for women who have experienced intimate partner violence
- InterRAI Child and Youth Mental Health Trauma-informed Care Project
- Inunnguiniq Parenting Program
- MindUP™ for Young Children
- Nato-we ho win (The art of self-healing)
- P.E.A.C.E. Project: Peer Education and Connection through Empowerment
- Reaching out with Yoga
- Safe and Understood: Helping children who experience domestic violence (completed)
- Sole Expression: Trauma-informed dance intervention for youth
- Shape your Life: Trauma-informed boxing for survivors of family violence (completed)
- Shape your Life - Youth
- STEP : Supporting the transition into parenthood and parental engagement of adults who are survivors of child maltreatment
- The Strength of Families and Connection: Child Safety and Wellbeing during COVID-19 response and recovery
- Supporting the Health of Survivors of Family Violence in Family Law Proceedings
- FOXY: Strengthening the Health of Northern and Indigenous Youth experiencing Teen Dating Violence in the Northwest Territories
- Trauma Informed Education and Development Project (TIDE) (completed)
- VEGA Project: Violence Evidence, Guidance and Action - A Public Health Response to Family Violence (completed)
Knowledge Hub: Maximizing Impact by Connecting Research and Practice in Trauma-Informed Health Promotion
The Knowledge Hub project, led by the Centre for Research & Education on Violence Against Women & Children at Western University, connects and enhances the work of all community-based intervention research projects funded through PHAC's Family Violence Prevention Investment.
The Knowledge Hub, in partnership with the Trauma-and Violence-InformedFootnote 1 Community of Practice, facilitates collaboration and shared learning, supports knowledge translation and mobilization efforts, and enhances research capacity in the area of trauma-informed health promotion in Canada.
Being trauma aware: Making a difference in the lives of children & youth (completed)
The Calgary & Area Child Advocacy Centre is developing and evaluating a training program on the links between childhood maltreatment, brain development, substance use and mental health, from a trauma-informed perspective.
Online, interactive training modules will help service providers interacting with children and youth across Alberta to more safely and effectively serve the needs of children who have experienced childhood maltreatment. The project also aims to promote integrated practice among sectors to best support children and youth impacted by childhood maltreatment and trauma.
Bounce Back League (BBL)
Recognizing the impact of family violence on the brains and bodies of children and youth, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada is developing and evaluating a new program called the Bounce Back League, which aims to improve physical and mental health outcomes for Boys and Girls Club members.
Bounce Back League is a sports program for 8-12 year olds that takes the best part of sport (e.g. drills, fun competition, leagues, and tournaments) and the power of being part of a team, to equip youth to better handle the ups and downs of life.
This program is designed around what is commonly described as a "trauma-informed practice" which takes the most cutting edge and effective approaches from both the clinical and academic realms of childhood trauma and healing, and adapts these approaches to fit into Boys and Girls Club organizations and culture.
The program will include training for staff to create a trauma-informed, inclusive and safe culture across all of the organizations' programming. This project will reach children and youth at 13 Boys and Girls Clubs across Canada.
Building connections: A group intervention for mothers and children experiencing violence in relationships
The Canadian Mothercraft Society is helping mothers experiencing family violence learn about the impacts of violence on their parenting and their children's development, while building mothers' self-esteem and improving their positive parenting and healthy relationship skills.
The intervention will be delivered and evaluated across Canada through PHAC's Community Action Program for Children, Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program, and Aboriginal Head Start in Urban and Northern Communities program sites. Staff training will also build awareness, capacity and confidence to better understand and support the needs of families experiencing family violence.
Building internal resilience through horses
The Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre is developing and evaluating an intervention that combines equine-assisted learning with workshops on expressive arts and psychoeducation in Peterborough, Ontario. The purpose of this intervention is to build resilience and life skills in young women between the ages of 13 and 18 years who are survivors of child maltreatment.
Participants will be challenged to move outside of their comfort zone through their interaction with horses, and this experience will help them develop greater confidence and self-awareness.
Collaborative Approaches for Supporting Survivors of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) (completed)
Women's Health in Women's Hands Community Health Centre is engaging survivors of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C), community leaders, service providers and the media within the Greater Toronto Area to educate, sensitize and enhance supports for survivors and those at risk of experiencing FGM/C. Through arts-based workshops, survivors will tell their stories and identify what supports are needed for survivors within the Canadian context. The learning from these workshops will inform the development of resources and training for media, health and allied professionals to better equip them in their work on the issue and with survivors. In addition, through this project a network of 'community champions' will be established, comprised of women affected by FGM/C, people from affected communities, religious leaders and service providers, who will help raise awareness of the health and other harms of FGM/C within their own networks and communities.
iHEAL in context: Testing the effectiveness of a health promotion intervention for women who have experienced intimate partner violence
Western University, in partnership with the University of British Columbia and University of New Brunswick, is developing and evaluating a health promotion intervention designed to support women who are in the transition of separating from an abusive partner improve their health and quality of life.
iHEAL is delivered by community health nurses partnering with women over a 6-month period to help them develop confidence, knowledge and skills related to safety, health, relationships, community connections and basic resources. The intervention is woman-led and tailored to fit her priorities and the community in which she lives with a strong focus on complementing and extending existing services and supports.
The project is also supporting the integration of trauma-informed approaches into community and provincial programs to improve services for survivors of family violence.
InterRAI Child and Youth Mental Health Trauma-informed Care Project
The interRAI Lab at Western University is evaluating the effect of improved trauma-informed practice on children and youth who have experienced family violence using an innovative set of tools that assess the health needs of individuals between 4 to 18 years of age.
Supporting the use of evidence-informed and community-based interventions, the goal of the project is to improve trauma-informed knowledge and practice as well as facilitate greater information sharing, collaboration and service integration across organizations. The overall objective of this initiative is to improve mental health care for children and youth who have experienced family violence.
Inunnguiniq Parenting Program
The Qaujigiartiit Health Research Centre in Nunavut is adapting and evaluating the Inunnguiniq Parenting Program for high-risk parents and caregivers who are involved in the criminal justice system, accessing social services, and/or are in treatment for substance abuse.
The intervention works to revive Inuit pathways to wellness, building on Inuit societal values and the importance of family connections and rearing children through a strengths-based and holistic approach. This intervention addresses the root causes of family violence including intergenerational trauma and disrupted parent-child attachments resulting from the traumatic experiences of the settlement and residential school eras.
MindUP™ for Young Children
This five-year study includes kindergarten children at a local school board and children and their parents from a community-based organization that serves children who have experienced family violence. Educators, school support staff and community facilitators are trained in trauma-informed care and the delivery of MindUP.
MindUP teaches attentional, self-regulatory, social and emotional strategies for children. MindUP has been shown to reduce stress and improve perspective taking, academic performance, empathy, and kindness in older children. This project will evaluate the effectiveness of MindUP for young children within a trauma-informed framework hoping to improve health outcomes specifically for children with experiences of family violence.
Nato-we ho win (The art of self-healing)
The Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan (PATHS) is implementing and evaluating a trauma-informed, culturally-relevant arts-based intervention in Moose Jaw, Regina and Prince Albert for Indigenous women who are survivors of family violence.
The goal of this intervention is to build resilience, healthy coping skills, and support networks through weekly participation in cultural and creative activities such as storytelling, traditional art forms such as beading or leather work, intuitive art making, traditional medicines and self-care practices, and traditional survival strategies such as harvesting and preserving natural food.
P.E.A.C.E. Project: Peer Education and Connection through Empowerment
Covenant House Toronto in partnership with Centre for Addiction and Mental Health is developing and evaluating a peer-led, health promotion program for young women (16-24) who have experienced any form of gender-based violence including: physical, emotional, sexual, economic and/or psychological harm.
Participants explore their strengths and goals; learn self-healing techniques and safety planning; experience leadership opportunities. Activities include; mindfulness, expressive arts, science, physical activity, nutrition, entrepreneurship, community action. Effectiveness is measured by participants' application of program activities in real life.
Reaching out with Yoga
The BC Society of Transition Houses, in partnership with Yoga Outreach, is delivering a trauma-informed yoga program in transition houses across British Columbia to explore how this style of yoga impacts the physical and mental health of women and children who have experienced family violence. Transition House staff are also receiving training to use yoga techniques in their professional practice and in their self-care to address vicarious trauma.
Safe and Understood: Helping children who experience domestic violence (completed)
Led by the Child Development Institute, Safe and Understood is a 5-year project that implements and evaluates two existing programs-Caring Dads and Mothers in Mind. Caring Dads is a 17-week, empirically-based intervention for fathers (i.e., biological, step, common-law) who have maltreated their children, while Mother in Mind is a 10-week, trauma-informed, mother-child group intervention, for mothers who have experienced interpersonal abuse and trauma (e.g., childhood abuse, neglect, and sexual assault). The interventions aim to enhance parents' skills (e.g., stress management, self-esteem, and parenting skills) so that parents can support their children's social, emotional and developmental health. The project goal is to improve outcomes for young children (under the age of 4), at-risk due to exposure to domestic violence/intimate partner violence.
The project includes multiple sites in Ontario, New Brunswick, Quebec and Alberta, and consists of various communities (i.e., rural, French speaking, and Indigenous communities).
Sole Expression: Trauma-informed dance intervention for youth
The Boost Child and Youth Advocacy Centre in Toronto, Ontario is developing and evaluating a trauma-informed hip-hop dance intervention for youth who have experienced abuse and/or exposure to violence. Participants will explore and experiment with movement to relieve built-up tension and re-establish ownership over their bodies and mind, reducing the physical and psychological symptoms of trauma.
Shape your Life: Trauma-informed boxing for survivors of family violence (completed)
Brock University is leading the implementation and evaluation of Shape Your Life, a trauma-informed boxing program for female and trans survivors of family violence in Toronto, Ontario. This trauma-informed approach to boxing and physical activity is designed to help women bring their bodies back under their own control, while also improving their physical and mental health.
Shape your Life - Youth
Brock University, in partnership with Mentoring Junior Kids Organization (MJKO), will deliver non-contact, trauma and violence-informed boxing to explore the physical and mental health outcomes of youth (aged 7 to 18 years old) who have experienced family violence. Shape Your Life (SYL) Youth will be delivered in collaboration with several community-based agencies in Ontario and Alberta, including a youth mental health agency, and two foster care agencies (Mountain Plains Family Service Society and Pathways Family Services). The SYL Youth program is expected to improve the physical and mental health of an estimated 600 youth. In addition, 20 youth boxing coaches and youth leaders will also receive training in trauma and violence-informed coaching.
STEP : Supporting the transition into parenthood and parental engagement of adults who are survivors of child maltreatment
This project, (only available in French), led by the Centre d'étude interdisciplinaire sur le développement de l'enfant et de la famille (Centre for the Interdisciplinary Study on Child and Family Development) at University of Québec in Trois Rivières, is developing and evaluating group intervention programs for future parents who are survivors of child maltreatment. This project aims to support these adults in their role as parents, to prevent intergenerational violence and to improve the physical and mental health of future parents and of their children.
The Strength of Families and Connection: Child Safety and Wellbeing during COVID-19 response and recovery
The Child Welfare League of Canada, in collaboration with the Canadian Consortium on Child and Youth Trauma, the Canadian Association of Social Workers and the Canadian Foster Family Association, will strengthen the capacity of child welfare workers, service providers and alternative caregivers across Canada to effectively prevent and respond safely to child maltreatment in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The project will provide access to new evidence-based training and resources related to child maltreatment.
Supporting the Health of Survivors of Family Violence in Family Law Proceedings
This project, led by the University of Western Ontario, will build the capacity of up to 15,000 practitioners and professionals from the health, violence prevention and family law sectors. Through the development of training and cross-sectoral collaboration opportunities, this project will contribute to the goal of protecting the health and safety of survivors of family violence and those at risk.
FOXY: Strengthening the Health of Northern and Indigenous Youth experiencing Teen Dating Violence in the Northwest Territories
Led by Fostering Open eXpression among Youth (FOXY), this school-based intervention for Indigenous and northern teenaged girls is being delivered across the Northwest Territories to prevent teen dating violence and promote healthy relationships, sexual health and mental health. Using drama, visual arts, moose hide beading, traditional hand drumming, photography, digital storytelling, and music, the intervention educates and facilitates discussion on these issues.
The Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children (METRAC) in partnership with multi-sector organizations will engage Two-Spirit, Nonbinary and Trans individuals in the Greater Toronto Area to examine and address current issues, challenges, and barriers to health and social supports for community members affected by partner violence. This project aims to increase understanding of how partner violence is experienced by Two-Spirit, Nonbinary, and Trans individuals, build peer intervention approaches, and develop tools and training to equip health and social service providers to provide effective, equitable care and support.
Trauma Informed Education and Development Project (TIDE) (completed)
The TIDE project is supporting an organization-wide shift toward trauma-informed practice across YWCA Toronto, a large multi service organization dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls in the Toronto area. This shift in culture and practice aims to improve the health and well-being of women accessing YWCA Toronto's services, particularly those who have experienced family violence. The project will also enhance support for staff who are survivors of family violence or experiencing vicarious trauma.
VEGA Project: Violence Evidence, Guidance and Action - A Public Health Response to Family Violence (completed)
Collaborating with 22 national health and social service professional organizations, VEGA is developing evidence-based, pan-Canadian public health guidance and curriculum to better equip front-line care providers to recognize and respond safely to family violence. Developed online resources are publically available at https://vegaproject.mcmaster.ca/
- Footnote 1
Trauma- and violence-informed practice is a client-centred model that is built on knowledge about the impact of violence and trauma on people's lives and health. It aims to create safety for clients/patients by understanding the effects of trauma, and its close links to health and behaviour.
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