SARAVYC Receives Research Grant from PHAC

17 May 2019

SARAVYC receives nearly $1 million grant for LGBTQ2S+ youth dating violence prevention research

The Stigma and Resilience among Vulnerable Youth Centre (SARAVYC), based at UBC's School of Nursing, will receive $999,980 over five years to develop an intervention that emphasizes positive, healthy relationships for LGBTQ2S+ youth. SARAVYC is of one of four projects receiving funding, as announced today by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

 “We’re excited to partner with young people to address these issues, because LGBTQ2S+ youth are at increased risk of many types of gender-based violence, and that includes relationship violence,” said Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc, UBC Professor of Nursing and SARAVYC’s Executive Director.

Trends from previous province-wide BC Adolescent Health Surveys show around 15 percent of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth who are in romantic relationships report dating violence. That’s three to six times higher than their heterosexual peers.

“Risks are even higher for trans and non-binary youth,” said Dr. Saewyc. “In the Canadian Trans Youth Health Survey, 24 percent of trans and non-binary adolescents who were in relationships reported dating violence.”

SARAVYC is partnering with the McCreary Centre Society and its Youth Research Academy to work with LGBTQ2S+ youth to develop, implement, and evaluate the healthy relationship intervention for LGBTQ2S+ youth in British Columbia. The program will consist of several 20-minute modules that can be delivered during secondary school lunch periods—when most Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) clubs meet—or combined as part of after-school or community programming.

The modules will focus on building positive relationship skills and behaviours, and will be shared with GSAs and community organizations throughout British Columbia. The team will then use surveys to evaluate their effectiveness with young people and measure community-level shifts using the next BC Adolescent Health Survey in 2023. The project also creates the opportunity to study any implementation challenges by interviewing educators and community centre staff.

“Most healthy relationship programs were developed for heterosexual, cisgender teens, and that leaves LGBTQ2S+ youth struggling to find advice that fits their lives and their relationships,” said Dr. Saewyc. “By designing the program with LGBTQ2S+ youth, for LGBTQ2S+ youth, we can ensure it is relevant, because it reflects their reality.”

The funding is part of Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence and was announced today, the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia.

“LGBTQ2S+ Canadians have been, and continue to be, deeply affected by homophobia, transphobia and biphobia, along with other forms of discrimination,” said Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health. “The Government of Canada is working with partners across the country to address the root causes of gender-based violence, promote gender equality, and support survivors of violence in ways that are sensitive to their needs and relevant to their experiences. The projects announced today will build on these efforts to support people who identify as LGBTQ2S+ and achieve our goal of ending gender‑based violence.”

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