Respectful Futures has been developed by Stroh Health Care in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General and the Ministry of Education. Those resources, in turn, were modelled on a program called Respectful Relationships developed by BC Corrections, Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, which has been used with great success in the education of men who have been convicted of domestic abuse.
The goal of this project was to translate the corrections program for adults to a preventative resource for youth. This initiative corresponds with the mandates developed by Violence Free BC and our commitments to the Provincial Domestic Violence Plan. Developing resources for schools and community organizations based on Respectful Relationships concepts has the potential to provide youth with the tools needed to develop healthy and respectful relationships and to improve outcomes for them and their future relationships. The materials were developed from a gender-neutral perspective and in a form relevant to relationships of all kinds: friendships, romantic, family and community.
Our purpose was to develop a resource for 12 to 18 year olds that could be delivered in schools and in communities throughout BC in order to prevent relationship violence. Its focus would be to promote social inclusion and to help to create and reinforce a better understanding of healthy and respectful relationships.
Stroh Health Care received funding in 2015 for the Respectful Futures project (as a result of grants made available for projects that align with the Violence Free BC Strategy) to explore how concepts from the successful BC Corrections Respectful Relationships program could be revised or enhanced to meet the learning needs of youth. As a result of several decades of experience in treating men who have a pattern of abusing their partners, and having had numerous discussions with staff from the Ministry of Education and agencies involved in reducing the risk of family violence, the development of such a prevention resource for youth had been top-of-mind for many years.
The Relationship Violence Prevention Program is a two-part cognitive behavioural program. Part 1, Respectful Relationships is delivered by probation officers to men convicted of spousal assault. Part 2, the Relationship Violence Program is delivered throughout the province by Stroh Health Care. In 2009, government conducted an evaluation of this two-part program. The results were extremely positive and found reductions in domestic violence re-offending of up to 50%.
Developing prevention materials for youth has the potential to provide them with the tools needed to develop healthy relationships early in their lives, and to improve outcomes for them and their families. Many of the men who have completed the Relationship Violence Program believe very strongly that they would not have been abusive if they had been given the tools for respectful relationships when they were in school.
As you review our story, it will become apparent that one of the most essential components of this initiative has been consultation. We look forward to opportunities to continue to consult with partners and promote these resources we refer to as Respectful Futures.
We enthusiastically encourage visitors to this site and potential facilitators of this resource to read the more detailed account of our journey in the PDF entitled Development of the Resource Materials.