bullying in school


After the unparalleled success of the award-winning film A Love That Kills, the Speers Society recognized the urgent need for current and relevant programming in the area of relationship abuse. Whenever the film was shown, youth made disclosures 100% of the time and asked for information and support.

As we travelled across Canada we spoke with hundreds of educators who appealed to us to develop the instructional guide to enhance the positive learning opportunities of the film A Love That Kills. We listened carefully when educators emphasized that only curriculum-based programs would be considered in the school climate today and so we developed CHOICES for Positive Youth Relationships to meet the provincial Ministry curriculum guidelines in a variety of subjects.

Unwilling to base our project on anecdotal information alone, the Speers Society initiated an arms-length needs assessment, conducted by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto who researched 14 pilot schools in 4 provinces across Canada. Summary Evaluation

  • 46% expressed concern regarding the number of violent incidents at their school
  • 12% felt unsafe at school
  • 97% had witnessed name-calling
  • 36% experienced bullying or threats/intimidation.

Perpetration of dating violence was frequently reported.

  • 34.1% reported that they had tried to stop a partner from doing activities without them 25.9% had ridiculed or made fun of a partner
  • 55.7% had done something to make their partner jealous
  • 12.8% of students had kicked, hit, or punched their partner
  • 9.7% reporting that they had touched their partner sexually when it was unwanted
  • 28.9% of students reported that, on at least one occasion, their partner had made them describe where they were every minute of the day
  • 33.1% of students reported being insulted with put-downs
  • 20.3% reported being told by a dating partner that they could not talk to members of the opposite sex.
  • 15.4% reported being kicked, hit, or punched by a partner
  • 22.5% reported being touched sexually when it was unwanted

In addition to the empirical data, we solicited feedback from focus groups of youth and experts in youth issues. They emphasized the need for a program that raises awareness of warning signs, develops positive skills and offers support to sustain those positive choices. They emphasised a need for non gender-specific programming that broadens the definition of relationship to include friendships and family. They asked us for a program that would allow youth the opportunity to discuss issues about relationships within a safe and caring environment.

Abuse exacts a high price in pain and suffering, forfeited opportunities and lives lost due to violence. We owe all our youth the chance to learn safe and effective relationship skills that they can transport into adult relationships, challenging work situations, and parenting.