Age group: Adolescence (12-17); Young adult (18-24); Adult (25-64)
Gender: Mixed (male and female)
Population served: Families; Gang-involved (and/or at risk); Newcomers, immigrants and/or refugees; Visible minority/ethnic group; Youth in contact with law enforcement (and/or at risk)
Topic: Aggressive/violent behaviours; Antisocial/deviant behaviours; Bullying/cyberbullying; Drug trafficking; Gang and/or related criminal activities
Setting: Urban area; Criminal justice setting
Location: British Columbia
Number of completed Canadian outcome evaluation studies: 0
Continuum of intervention: Primary crime prevention; Secondary crime prevention
The Abbotsford Police Department’s (AbbyPD’s) PATHWAYS program focuses on primary and secondary levels of prevention. PATHWAYS implements strategies that create positive pathways for at-risk youth in collaboration with families, communities, and stakeholders.
PATHWAYS has a balanced three-pronged approach (Community Engagement, Prevention, and Intervention) that aims to create a long-term, integrated response — rather than a “single solution” — approach. PATHWAYS creates multiple systematic applications based on evidence-informed practices to generate a continuum of responses in order to be more effective than a one-dimensional approach.
Development and implementation of PATHWAYS are rooted in three guiding principles:
- mitigate risk factors and enhance protective factors;
- practice cultural responsiveness and ensure that gang prevention initiatives are responsive and inclusive of cultural communities; and
- foster collaborations to maximize impact and build and strengthen partnerships at all levels to support cross-cutting prevention efforts.
The main goals of the PATHWAYS program are to:
- increase awareness around gang prevention and intervention work, which would entail a diverse level of engagement and collaboration with the community and stakeholders
- create multi-modal learning style training programs for different age groups and various audiences (such as diverse communities, families, schools)
- provide intervention services to youths and young adults identified as being at risk for gang participation or other criminal activities
The PATHWAYS intervention approach primarily focuses on 12–19-year-olds. However, the principles and practice outlined in this approach may also benefit older people (19– 30-year-olds) who are at-risk of gang participation.
The mandate of the PATHWAYS program is to offer services to youth and young adults identified as being at-risk for gang-participation or other criminal activities. PATHWAYS provides intervention opportunities to prevent youth and young adults from becoming entrenched in the gang lifestyle. The aim is to mitigate the individual’s risk factors and strengthen their protective factors through the provision of internal and external resources. The intent is to divert these individuals away from the criminal lifestyle by providing services that address the underlying causes of the risk factors. In addition, the participants do not need to be involved in the criminal justice system or have committed a criminal offence to participate in the PATHWAYS program.
These three pillars (Community Engagement, Prevention, and Intervention) make PATHWAYS a comprehensive program with a holistic approach. This approach targets gang participation from multiple levels (i.e., individual, relational, community, and societal factors).
Community Engagement – Solution-focused community engagement is crucial to the success of PATHWAYS as it forms the foundation on which prevention and intervention methods are delivered. At the centre of this community-based engagement is building community capacity and willingness to address and solve the issues of gangs.
Prevention – One of the goals of the PATHWAYS prevention approach is to educate. PATHWAYS educational materials have been created for various audiences, such as community members, families, stakeholders, and youths. Through education, we are making a continued effort to address the problem of gang violence beyond its symptoms and to have a concentrated focus on the risk and protective factors and on the adoption of strength-based approaches.
Intervention - The intervention is to offer services to youths and young adults identified as being at-risk for gang participation or other criminal activities. They’re at risk but not yet gang-involved: the goal is to mitigate that likelihood.
Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:
- Organizational requirements: The PATHWAYS team is comprised of a civilian Gang Prevention Coordinator, police officers and youth outreach workers.
- Partnerships: The success of the PATHWAYS program depends on its partnerships with the diverse communities at the grassroots level, and with key stakeholders (Abbotsford School District, ARCHWAY Community Services, Abbotsford Restorative Justice and Advocacy Association)
- Training and technical assistance: Police officers are trained to conduct evidence-informed interventions in accordance with the PATHWAYS evidence-informed strategy. The officers received training on how to assess and manage risk factors, complete risk assessment forms, and work in a culturally competent way with the youths and families.
- Risk assessment tools: An internally-developed assessment tool is used as part of the screening process for the program. This process helps the team determine whether the participant is qualified for the program to ensure that the most appropriate participants are identified for intervention. Participants are screened and assessed as low, moderate, or high risk.
- Materials & resources: The Project Cycle Management Model is used to provide a clearly outlined process to assess the success and shortcomings of various initiatives. This also helps make appropriate adjustments and reprogramming as required. Other key document that is used by the team for report writing is SOAP (Subjective, Objective, Assessment and Plan). Through SOAP, the team can document Subjective and factual information. This further helps the team to summarize the risk assessment and determine the course of future plans.
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 PATHWAYS program is supported by the Public Safety Canada through the Guns and Gangs Violence Action Fund. Program is being implemented by the Abbotsford Police Department. The program is funded from April 2020 to March 2023.
Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies
No information available.
In 2020, the Abbotsford Police Department received approximately $ 690,000/year for 3 years to design, develop and implement the gang prevention and intervention program.
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B. C. Ministry of Justice. (n.d.). Youth gang prevention: Toolkit for community planning. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/public-safety-and-emergency-services/crime-prevention/community-crime-prevention/publications/youth-gang-prevention.pdf
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Howell, J. C. (2010). Gang prevention: An overview of research and programs. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED518416
Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs. (n.d.). Positive youth development. https://youth.gov/youth-topics/positive-youth-development
Practice & Research Together. (n.d.). What is evidence-informed practice (EIP)? http://www.partcanada.org/about/what-is-evidence-informed-practice-eip
Smith, E. (2006). The strength-based counseling model. Counseling Psychologist, 34, 1. https://doi.org/10.1177/0011000005277018
U.S. Department of Justice & U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2013). Changing course: Preventing gang membership. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/239234.pdf
For more information on this program, contact:
Gang Prevention Coordinator
Abbotsford Police Department
2838 Justice Way, Abbotsford, BC V2T 3P5
Telephone: (604) 859 5225
Website: Abbotsford Police Department (abbypd.ca)
Record Updated On - 2023-01-09
- Date modified: