Programmes for healthy relationships and partner violence in schools in Canada

The Canadian federal agency responsible for defending the rights of women and ensuring the application of the Status of Women Canada law. As such, this agency promotes gender equality and the total participation of women in the economic, social, cultural and political life of the country. The Status of Women Canada acts in three areas: the improvement in economic autonomy and wellbeing of women, the elimination of systematic violence against women and children and advances in women’s rights.

With this purpose, it develops and directs gender studies, promotes their application in the sphere of federal government, and sponsors research that provides a gender dimension to programme and policy agendas.

This is the case of the education information programme that the Canadian Agency of Women is putting into operation involving school practices that favour programmes for healthy relationships and the prevention of partner violence in the country’s schools. Among the specific objective concerning inclusivity, as well as the vision through gender lenses promoted by this educational programme for the country’s younger population, mainly focused on primary and secondary schools, there are the following:

Inclusivity

  • Programmes include mixed audiences and different communities and may require specific focuses.
  • Similarly, programmes that include students with special needs, for example, meaning that the material is accessible to students with sight or hearing impairments, guarantee that all students meet all the objectives set by the programme.
  • Programmes that use the LGBTQ and alternative gender language, and propose scenarios or role-plays that demonstrate the different factors involved in violence in LGBTQ relationships, also guarantee that all students can identify with the programme and, therefore, also meet the objectives of the results.

Gender lenses

  • Programmes that have separate components for girls and boys and offer the opportunity to regroup and debate what is important for boys and girls are the most successful.
  • Similarly, programmes that have co-facilitators who are both male and female are better received by the young, as they feel better represented and have more possibilities to express themselves.
  • Although separated-by-gender programmes may be useful, a gender analysis is important in all programmes, especially with regard to the underlying causes of gender inequality, in order to address the fact that women are more likely to be mistreated, the concept of consent and the benefits of healthy and equal relationships.
  • LGBTQ students also either have to be represented, with the gender identity of facilitators or with the language and materials used, the scenarios addressed, etc.

These are the desired intrinsic objectives to be incorporated in curricular programmes in schools in Canada, promoting forums for reflection for boys and girls, as well as generating an atmosphere of integration and normalisation of social stereotypes that are now obsolete, in order to try to create a bright future for the country’s future generations with the creation of a support network during childhood.

https://cfc-swc.gc.ca/abu-ans/wwad-cqnf/fs/fs-eng.pdf

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