Violence prevention programs evaluated

Many organizations have ideas about how to prevent violence against girls and young women, but what happens when there is too much information? One University of Calgary professor and researcher, Dr. Lesie Tutty, hopes that a new manual will help schools decide which violence prevention programs are best for their students.

“This manual presents our research and expert-based opinion on violence prevention programs,” said Tutty. “One of the reasons we started this project was that earlier research found that at some schools each vice-principal was receiving 150 well-marketed brochures each year.”

Entitled School-based Violence Prevention Programs: Preventing Violence Against Girls and Young Women, the manual examines 79 North-American violence-prevention programs targeted at high-schools and communities and took approximately 18 months to complete. Public schools in Calgary already have access to the manual, which is available in English, French and on-line.

Danielle Aubrey, Executive Director of Calgary Communities Against Sexual Abuse said the manual should be well-received by the community.

“The best and most effective way of dealing with violence in the community is through prevention,” said Aubrey. “This [manual] is information most communities and school boards would not be able to pull together themselves.”

Tutty hopes the evaluative components of the manual will help schools save both time and money in evaluating violence prevention programs.

“There is an urgent need to pull this information together and help these existing programs evaluate themselves,” said Tutty. “Each school has a limited budget and they want to know which program to implement.”

While Aubrey believes the manual will be beneficial to the schools, she noted that the larger community also has a role in preventing violence.

“It not the sole responsibility of schools to provide that information,” said Aubrey. “It is the parents’ and the community’s responsibility to continually discuss violence prevention.”

According to Tutty, because violence affects not only the female victims but those around her as well, the manual is addresses violence programs relevant to students of both genders.

“It is appropriate that we release this manual just two days before December 6,” she said in reference to the Montreal Massacre in 1989 when a gunman killed 14 women at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique. “Hopefully, this is one measure that can prevent such violence from occurring in the future.”

The project was headed by Research and Education for Solutions to Violence and Abuse, a network of researchers in the prairie provinces and has already received attention from the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention according to Tutty.

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