Pilot Summary Evaluation

Pilot Summary Evaluation


83% of students indicated that they supported the implementation of school-based violence prevention programs (“schools should have a role in increasing awareness of the effects of violence and how to prevent it”)

Participants’ perceptions of this program and feedback concerning its effectiveness were examined for the experimental group only. The majority of participants (88.9%) felt that the program had helped them to recognize the warning signs of abuse in relationships. In addition, most felt that it had helped them choose safe, non-violent behaviour (57.3%) and help a friend who is in an abusive relationship (58.3%). Only 9.6% of those in the experimental group felt that the program had not helped them.

On average, participants who received the program felt that they had learned skills relevant to both dating and friendship violence and that, following the program, they were better prepared to handle incidents of violence and/or abuse. Youth in the program group reported that they were significantly more likely to stop an incident of violence, seek information about relationship abuse, and report an incident of violence or abuse. In addition, youth who received the CHOICES for Positive Youth Relationships program indicated that, compared to pre-test, they were more familiar with support services in their community at post-test.



The majority of facilitators were classroom teachers who administered CHOICES for Positive Youth Relationships during scheduled class time. Overall, facilitators were comfortable with the program material and indicated that they felt it covered important issues that were relevant to their students’ experiences and age level. Facilitators also indicated that they would use the program again.

Many educators felt training should be provided to all teacher facilitators.

Comments from Educators who piloted CHOICES for Positive Youth Relationships

“ I really believe in what this program is trying to do, and I know that lives are changing in the process.”

“ The learners found the course material interesting, motivating, and relevant. As an educator, I found the program very relevant and important for learners to understand the reality that the content of the course presented. The success of the program in our context is that the program brought to light issues that affect all of us in our relationships with others.”

“ The most relevant aspect of the program was that the program was about empowerment and how to take the first steps to empowering individuals.”

” I will most definitely use the program again.”



Both the film and the intervention produced positive changes in youth’s attitudes towards dating violence.

Behavioural change was modest, but the pattern of results suggests that, across pre- and post-tests, youth did experience some change in their perpetration and victimization of negative dating behaviours. CHOICES for Positive Youth Relationships youth reported greater use of conflict resolution tactics in their dating partnerships at post-test, than did the film-only group.

For youth who received the CHOICES for Positive Youth Relationships program, positive changes were found on measures of youth’s intentions to help themselves as well as victimized others.

Willingness to intervene and report violent incidents, desire to seek information about relationship violence or abuse, and familiarity with community support services significantly increased from pre- to post-test for participants who received the CHOICES for Positive Youth Relationships program

CHOICES for Positive Youth Relationships was targeted at youth in grades 9 to 12; given that many youth report dating in grades 8 and 9, these grades may be appropriate for initiating the CHOICES for Positive Youth Relationships program, with subsequent grades receiving knowledge-building programming.

Interventions that follow-up on CHOICES for Positive Youth Relationships or activities within CHOICES for Positive Youth Relationships should consider using the peer group more explicitly.

Data suggests that grade 12 youth are in need of more extensive programming and may benefit from the additional or alternative activities suggested in the program guide.

The majority of students perceive school as a safe environment, but were concerned about the number of violent incidents that take place there.

A large percentage of students had experienced violence within their school, with the majority experiencing name-calling, threats or intimidation, and bullying.

Almost all students reported witnessing violence, with name-calling, bullying, and racial slurs the most commonly witnessed acts.

Disclosures of abuse were common among students, but few reported abusive events to persons other than their peers.

Students most often turned to friends or family and few took advantage of professional services, which may have been due to a lack of awareness, as familiarity with community-based violence resources was reported by less than half of the sample.

There is a strong need for local help agencies to develop a presence in individual schools; this may be facilitated with volunteer activities for youth (mandated in Ontario schools) that could provide greater knowledge of and exposure to relevant youth, clinical, and anti-violence groups

Most students felt that they would intervene if a violent incident were occurring around them, while only 32.6% had actually done so, the majority using prosocial methods (e.g., separating the individuals, talking to them).

In addition to focusing on attitudes, knowledge and awareness, youth need to develop and practice skills that support these new attitudes so that behaviour is affected. Benefits may be maximized when all six lessons are delivered.