Children Exposed to Violence Programs
Gender: Mixed (male and female)
Population served: Aboriginal/Indigenous; Victims of crime; Youth in contact with law enforcement (and/or at risk)
Number of completed Canadian outcome evaluation studies: 1
Continuum of intervention: Primary crime prevention; Secondary crime prevention; Tertiary crime prevention
These programs assist children and youth, between the ages of 3 and 18. who have been exposed to interpersonal violence or abuse, with a goal of preventing them from becoming victims or perpetrators of violence and abuse in the future.
The main goals of these programs are to:
- prevent children and youth from becoming victims of violence and abuse in the future;
- help them cope with violence by providing the skills, resources and tools necessary to cope in the healthiest way possible; and
- prevent children and youth from committing acts of violence and abuse against others in the future
These programs serve Indigenous and non-Indigenous children and adolescences (ages 3-18) who are referred due to a known exposure to interpersonal violence and/or abuse.
- Inform: Clients will have an increase in their knowledge of healthy interpersonal relationships;
- Increase well-being: Clients experiences will have an increase in healthy choices, self-awareness and understanding (social, physical, emotional, spiritual, mental);
- Healthy Stress Management: Clients will have an increased knowledge of stress and understanding of coping strategies; and
- Safe: Clients will have an increased knowledge of safety and the ability to make healthy choices about their personal safety.
Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:
- Organizational requirements: Program agencies are responsible for overall administration, coordination of services and ensuring the program is administered appropriately.
- Partnerships: Children Exposed to Violence Program agencies continuously work to improve interagency coordination. Their networks include a broad range of partners who come from community, government, education, policing, counselling services and other youth-serving programs.
- Training and technical assistance: The Community Safety and Well-Being Branch offers ongoing support in the areas of contract obligations, program development and support or guidance, if requested.
- Risk assessment tools: Limited information on this topic.
- Materials & resources: The Government of Saskatchewan has compiled a document titled “A Guide for Children Exposed to Violence Programs in Saskatchewan” to assist newly funded programs, act as a resource for existing programs or assist communities to develop new services.
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
Provincially funded Children Exposed to Violence programs have been offered in several locations in Saskatchewan since 1993. Programs are currently offered in Buffalo Narrows, Estevan, La Ronge, Moose Jaw, North Battleford, Pelican Narrows, Prince Albert, Regina, and Saskatoon.
Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies
Children Exposed to Violence programs are recognized as effective through an evaluation conducted in 2008 by Dr. Leslie Tutty, University of Calgary. The study “The Evaluation of Saskatchewan’s Children Exposed to Domestic Abuse Programs” was comprised of three major components:
- A literature and group manual review to identify best practices in group work for children/youth exposed to domestic violence;
- Site visits with the five Saskatchewan programs and interviews with staff and group leaders to develop in-depth descriptions of and to assess the extent to which the programs address best practices; and
- A community needs assessment consisting of in-depth telephone interviews with key respondents from 24 community-based organizations in four Saskatchewan cities.
The study recommended that the ministry continue to fund and expand current program offerings.
The evaluation captured parent feedback indicating positive changes in how their children:
- dealt with conflict at school (e.g., dealing with bullies); and
- conflict at home with siblings
Presently, there are 10 Children Exposed to Violence programs in operation in Saskatchewan. The 2020-21 Budget provided $957,683/year for children exposed to violence programming. This program served 1007 children and 307 parents in 2019-20. The development of additional programs is underway.
Clinical experience shows that group treatment is a very effective treatment option for children/youth who have been exposed to domestic violence. Children’s group intervention creates a safe environment for children to express their feelings and experiences. It promotes skill development on safety planning, problem solving and other social and emotional skills.
Victims Services. (2010). A Guide for Children Exposed to Violence Programs in Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice and Attorney General. https://publications.saskatchewan.ca/api/v1/products/84472/formats/97883/download
Tutty, L., LeDrew, S. A., & Abbott, P. (2008). The Evaluation of Saskatchewan’s Children Exposed to Domestic Abuse Programs. Department of Justice Canada Victims of Crime Initiative. https://nursing.ucalgary.ca/sites/default/files/teams/13/The%20evaluation%20of%20Saskatchewan-s%20children%20exposed%20to%20domestic%20abuse%20programs%20final%20report.pdf
For more information on this program, contact:
Integrated Justice Services
Community Safety and Well-Being
610-1874 Scarth St
Regina, SK S4P 4B3
Record Updated On - 2022-01-17
- Date modified: