Evaluation Findings and Recommendations for a Strategic, Coordinated Approach to Violence Prevention Programming for Children and Youth in Calgary, Alberta: 2012-2015
Violence prevention programming in schools has proven an effective means of reducing interpersonal violence such as bullying, sexual violence and domestic violence. In Calgary, these types of programs are currently offered by over a dozen different service providers, each having developed or adopted a different approach. The need to coordinate these efforts has long been recognized in this city, with coordination initiatives extending back as far as 2002. To date, however, attempts to develop a more cohesive and strategic approach in Calgary have been unsuccessful. In 2012, Shift: The Project to End Domestic Violence approached two funders – the United Way of Calgary and Area and the City of Calgary’s Family and Community Support Services – to support renewed efforts to coordinate violence prevention programming in this city. The need for coordination was heightened by the fact that Fourth R (Relationship), a teacher delivered evidence-based violence prevention program for youth in grades 7-9, was going to be scaled by Shift across Alberta. Having been alerted to this change in the programming landscape, service providers were eager to come together to consider the implications for their programs. While the project produced a number of good resources for educators and service providers, stakeholder engagement in VPP steadily declined, and the initiative began to lose momentum. As a result, the project was placed on hold in the Spring of 2015, and an evaluation consultant was contracted to gather feedback on the initiative, document learnings, and develop recommendations for next steps. This report offers a brief summary of the findings and recommendations arising from the VPP evaluation.