REACH Immigrant and Refugee Initiative (RIRI)

Program snapshot

Age group: Adolescence (12-17); Young adult (18-24)

Gender: Mixed (male and female)

Population served: Families; Newcomers, immigrants and/or refugees

Topic: Family (domestic) violence/child maltreatment; Social/economic disadvantage

Setting: Urban area; Social services setting

Location: Alberta

Number of completed Canadian outcome evaluation studies: 0

Continuum of intervention: Primary crime prevention; Secondary crime prevention

Brief Description

The REACH Immigrant and Refugee Initiative (RIRI) pilot project is a crime prevention program working to build a safe community for immigrant and refugee families in Edmonton. The intention of this project was to reduce risk factors, strengthen protective factors with the overall goal of reducing precursors to family violence. Programs were open to all members from targeted immigrant communities from Africa, South Asian, South America and Eastern Europe, and did not specifically target those at risk or experiencing family violence. However, many of the participants self-reported as having accessed one or more social services because of issues in the home.


The main goals of the RIRI pilot project are to:

  • Reduce risk factors such as feelings of isolation, weak social connections, poverty, and existing Canadian systems not meeting needs of this group;
  • Strengthen protective factors including improved awareness of services; feelings of empowerment and inspiration; cultural support networks; and a sense of belonging, responsibility and required helpfulness; and
  • Develop preventative solutions from a cultural perspective, improve employability, parenting and communication skills, self-confidence and understanding of Canadian social norms.


The appropriate clientele for the RIRI pilot project are immigrants and refugees at risk of or experiencing family violence who require a culturally sensitive resources to provide them with information, connect their families to services, and receive support to successfully address and eliminate family violence. The participants are children under the age of 13 years old, and young adults aged 18-24 years old of both genders.

Core Components

The program components of RIRI pilot project include the following:

  • Prevention solutions from a cultural perspective;
  • Improve employability;
  • Parenting and communication skills; and
  • Self-confidence and understanding of Canadian social norms.

Implementation Information

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

  • Organizational requirements:
    • Work with the entire family: Working with men or women in isolation is not as effective as targeting the entire family;
    • Address the right root causes: Overcoming the challenge of poverty has damaging impacts on families; and
    • Address systemic challenges: Program needs to have cultural navigators to assist people adjust to life in Canada.
  • Partnerships: Nine project partners involved.
  • Training and technical assistance: Limited information on this topic.
  • Risk assessment tools: Limited information on this topic.
  • 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

The RIRI pilot project was implemented in Edmonton (Alberta) from 2010 to 2014. Funding was provided through the Safe Communities Innovation Fund (SCIF), Government of Alberta.

Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies

The RIRI project was evaluated for the social return on investment (see the details in the next section) as well as for some outcomes. 113 surveys were completed from October 2011 to January 2013. Children were surveyed by their parents and data was determined in consultation with front-line service providers. Interviews with program staff were held at the conclusion of the RIRI project. Language barriers and cultural concerns made the collection of sensitive information difficult. As a result, a significant number of the figures around the metrics were determined in consultation with front-line providers and extrapolated to the stakeholder groups. For more information, communicate with REACH Edmonton.

Cost Information

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

  • The SROI ratio calculated for the RIRI project is 1.40:1, which indicates that over the course of three years, the overall social value of investment in the program is $1.40 for every dollar invested; and
  • Social value was created for government systems primarily through avoided justice system costs and Edmonton Police Service call outs. In addition, value was created to the community by increasing the employability and income of participants. To participants, there was a significant personal and social value in experiencing less family violence, improving the connection to the community, improving their self- esteem and experiencing academic success and better employability.


Alberta Community Crime Prevention Organizations. (2015). Social Return on Investment (SROI) Case Study: REACH Immigrant and Refugee Initiative (RIRI). Recipient of Safe Communities Innovation Fund, Government of Alberta. Available from:

REACH Edmonton – Council for Safe Communities. REACH Aboriginal Leadership Circle (RALC) and REACH Immigrant and Refugee Initiative (RIRI). Project Evaluation Reports Summary. Available from:

For more information on this program, contact:

REACH Edmonton
Helen Rusich
Telephone: (780)498-1231

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