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Promising Practices: Healthy Relationships and Dating Violence Prevention Programs in Canadian Schools

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Determining the effectiveness of a dating violence prevention program for youth is challenging. There are certain measures that can be helpful in ensuring an impactful program. This fact sheet is designed for funding and program officers and is meant to guide program development, implementation and delivery in the areas of healthy relationships and dating violence prevention. It is a checklist of promising practices of such programs delivered in Canadian schools.

Research indicates there are at least nine key components to a successful healthy relationship or dating violence prevention program. They are:

Evidence-informed, well researched and developed program

Flexibility / Adaptability

Experiential learning


Gender lens

Youth leadership & involvement

Youth can be involved in many ways as part of the program, which helps to engage them and ensure their commitment and follow-up:

Simultaneously educational and skill-building

Programs that serve to both equip with knowledge and enhance skills, including opportunities to understand and apply the informational content, have shown promise. Such programs would:

Medium to long-term in duration

Curriculum-based or strong partnership between school & service provider


Canadian Women’s Foundation: Healthy Relationships 101 – An overview of school-based healthy relationship programs, 2012.

Cameron, C. Ann, Byers, E. Sandra et. al. Provincial Strategy Team for Dating Violence Prevention, Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research, University of New Brunswick. Dating Violence Prevention in New Brunswick, 2007.

Crooks, C., Zwarych, S., Hughes, R., & Burns, S. (2015). The Fourth R Implementation Manual: Building for Success from Adoption to Sustainability. London, Ontario: Claire Crooks 2015 University of Western Ontario.

Ecoethonomics, It Starts with You. It Stays with Him. E-learning module Third-Party Evaluation, Samantha Blosteing and Ryans Turnbull, January 2015.

Haskell, Lori, Ph.D. Key Best Practices for Effective Sexual Violence Public Education Campaigns, 2011.

Tutty, Leslie M., PhD: Healthy Relationships – Preventing Teen Dating Violence. An Evaluation of the Teen Violence Prevention Program. Toronto, Ontario. Published by the Canadian Women’s Foundation, 2011.

White Ribbon, Campaign in a Box, Promoting Healthy Equal Relationships, 2007

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