Reaching For a Good Life (RFGL)

Program snapshot

Age group: Adult (25-64)

Gender: Male only

Population served: Adult offenders

Topic: Family (domestic) violence/child maltreatment; Recidivism

Setting: Urban area; Community-based setting

Location: Alberta

Number of completed Canadian outcome evaluation studies: 0

Continuum of intervention: Secondary crime prevention; Tertiary crime prevention

Brief Description

The Reaching for A Good Life (RFGL) Program is for men who experience conflict in their intimate relationships and struggle to resolve their issues in non-abusive and non-violent ways. It is an innovative, strengths-based, prevention program targeting men who are not typically served by family violence programs.


The main goals of the RFGL program are to:

  • Reduce and eventually eliminate all abusive and aggressive behavior in participants’ intimate and family relationships; and
  • Empower participants to engage in community initiatives that increase the safety of families.


The program is voluntary, but the men are sometimes referred by the court system, probation, or Child and Family Services. While men who are mandated by the courts and Children’s Services will be accepted into the program, a mandate is not required or expected. The program does not want to duplicate services already available in the community. About 40 men are currently served per year, over the course of four different groups. All of the men involved in the program recognize that their abusive behaviour has hurt those that they love, and they enter the program with a degree of willingness to change.

Core Components

The RFGL operates as follows:

  • The project is voluntary, and while men who are mandated by the courts and Children’s Services will be accepted into the program, a mandate is not required or expected;
  • Approximately 40 men are served per year over the course of 4 different groups;
  • The program is based on a psychotherapeutic group process (16 weeks) divided into four modules: 1) Self-awareness and self-management skills; 2) Emotional Communication; 3) Values and moral decision making; and 4) Consciousness rising regarding power in relationships; and
  • There are also post-group exit interviews.

Implementation Information

Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:

  • Organizational requirements: Limited information on this topic.
  • Partnerships: Limited information on this topic.
  • Training and technical assistance: This project requires trained staff with experience working with men on their intimate relationships.
  • Risk assessment tools: Although information is limited, some risk assessment tools have been used within this program such as: the HCR-20 which assesses risk for violence; SARA which assesses risk for domestic violence; and SAPROF (Structured Assessment of Protective Factors for violence) which assesses protective factors for violence. This last tool has been developed has a companion to the HCR-20. 
  • Materials & resources: Limited information on this topic.

International Endorsements

The most recognized classification systems of evidence-based crime prevention programs have classified this program or initiative as follows:

  • Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development: Not applicable.
  • Crime Solutions/OJJDP Model Program Guide: Not applicable.
  • SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices: Not applicable.
  • Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy: Not applicable.

Gathering Canadian Knowledge

Canadian Implementation Sites

This project was implemented in Edmonton, Alberta from May 2009 – March 2013. In this time, approximately 40 men are served per year over the course of 4 different groups. Of the 222 participants who started the group, 122 of them completed, for a completion rate of 55%.

Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies

No information available.

Cost Information

A social return on investment (SROI) has been conducted on the RFGL program. The findings from this study have shown the following:

  • The SROI Ratio indicates that in the course of three years, the overall social value of investment in the SAFE program is $6.49 for every dollar invested. This is the result of three years of value creation, with Year 1 seeing $9.42 in social value created, Year 2 seeing $4.87, and Year 3 seeing $5.19; and
  • The social value created by the RFGL Program not only includes value created for the men (i.e., intact relationships, higher self-confidence, reduced substance use), but also for their partners, children, and the government.


Alberta Community Crime Prevention Organizations. (2015). Social Return on Investment (SROI) Case Study: Reaching for A Good Life (RFGL). Recipient of Safe Communities Innovation Fund, Government of Alberta. Available from:

For more information on this program, contact:

The Family Centre
Bill Smiley
Telephone: (780)917-8215

Record Entry Date - 2018-03-12
Record Updated On - 2021-04-29
Date modified: