YOUth Ending Violence

A Promising Practice to Help End Violence Against Girls and Women

Battered Women’s Support Services has delivered youth prevention programming since the late 1980’s. Our program has always included multi media components and discussion within mixed gender and single gender youth environments, primarily within the school system (conventional, alternative and private). The workshops were presented to youth in grades 8-12, primarily in grades 10-12 and on relatively rare occasions grades 6 and 7.  Working with school counsellors, school administrators and youth workers, we consistently provided education workshops to the tune of over 1,600 sessions over the past 20 or so years.  Our program called Dating Violence Education Program consisted of three streams: violence in dating relationships in mixed gender settings, healthy relationships in single (girls/women only) and mixed gender settings and dating Violence awareness for girls and young women.

As demand for our direct services increased in 2005, by 2007 and without funding, we were forced to scale back our Dating Violence Prevention Program to focus our efforts on providing crisis intervention and counselling to young women/women living with violence.  We took the opportunity to reflect on our program and we held a series of focus groups with young women and men evaluating our current program and what works in prevention programming, while we continued to seek funders for the program.  Repeatedly, our applications were denied funding.  Until 2010, when we received $50,000 from Vancouver Foundation to deliver our reconceived Youth Engagement in Violence Prevention Program.

Here is more about Battered Women’s Support Services youth prevention programming:

Youth Taking Action to End Violence Against Girls and Women

 

YOUth Ending Violence Pilot Project Wrap-Up

We are extremely proud and excited to have completed the pilot phase of our YOUth Ending Violence Project. The workshops focused several different aspects of teen dating violence including: power and control in teen dating relationships; Recognizing tactics that abusers use to maintain power and control; Naming qualities of a healthy relationship.  The workshops also challenged our socialization, i.e. looking at what it means to be feminine and masculine and how those notions play a role in violence against young women in relationships. The workshop also included strategies on how to take a personal stance against violence and be an empowered/effective bystander. We also provided the youth a list of services, including BWSS services, to access for more information and/or support regarding abuse in dating relationships.

Many successes were achieved during our pilot phase and we were able to fully train and support 6 youth facilitators. We delivered workshops in 15 schools, mainstream and alternative and 12 community based organizations/groups throughout 7 different communities.  In total 59 workshops were facilitated, 44 of the workshops were one hour, 14 were 2 hours and 3 were 3 hour workshops! Overall, we reached 1023 students, of which, 987 completed an evaluation! We received some amazing feedback from the youth in the evaluations proving that youth are engaged in learning about and preventing teen dating violence.

Here are a few quotes from the evaluations:

“the presentation will help reduce/prevent abuse when I am in a relationship to know my rights as a woman”

“I would be able to know what to do if my friends or myself encounter this situation”

“The presentation made me feel that it is my right to stand up for myself if something is wrong in my relationship”

“It gave me a lot of info on how to be a good boyfriend”

“Manhood is not all about being strong and tough”

“I learned how to be an empowered bystander:  thank you!!”  Here’s more about YOUth Ending Violence pilot project from two facilitators discussing teen dating violence and their experiences as facilitators.

As we move ahead, we are integrating learning approaches that support youth with awareness and safety planning with gender-based cyber-bullying, as well as, lethality in dating violence situations. For more information and to book a workshop email [email protected]