Estimating Costs and Benefits Associated with Evidence-Based Violence Prevention: Four Case Studies Based on the Fourth R Program


This article explores the design, implementation and scale-up of the Alberta Healthy Youth Relationships (AHYR) Strategy. The AHYR is a province-wide initiative in Alberta, Canada that aims to prevent intimate partner violence by promoting healthy relationships in adolescence and beyond. Developed in 2012 within a broader initiative called Shift: The Project to End Domestic Violence, the design of the AHYR began with work with provincial policy-makers, in order to create a policy climate that championed primary prevention. This policy climate subsequently supported the province-wide implementation of three evidence-based and evidence-informed programs that focus on building the skills and capacities required for healthy youth relationships. Through these programs, the AHYR has reached over 62,000 youth in grades 7-9, 900 teachers, 850 parents and 1300 adults that work with youth across the province. In addition to these three interventions, the AHYR also works with larger systems (e.g., policy-makers, local funders, post-secondary institutions) to advance primary prevention work. In this paper, we describe how the AHYR has contributed to a culture of intimate partner violence prevention in the province by improving the readiness of system leaders, community organizations and practitioners to support healthy relationships best practices. We also describe how we are using five years of implementation data to design the next iteration of the strategy. The article concludes with implications for other researchers and practitioners who are aiming to build a culture of intimate partner violence prevention.