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A Summary of Peer and Youth Consultations

A Summary of Peer & Youth Consultations

Drawing upon the best available research evidence and the expertise of professionals and practitioners, a list of topics was identified for potential inclusion.  We then proposed six modules which would form the outline for the Respectful Futures resource materials:

  1. Building relationships through better communication
  2. Characteristics of healthy relationships
  3. Impacts of unhealthy relationships
  4. Understanding and managing anger
  5. Exploring the links between thinking, feeling and behaviour
  6. Learning how to develop healthy relationships

Advisory Group members conducted a series of consultations with their peers, including educators, school administrators, school counsellors, probation officers, and police.  During this time frame (December, 2015 to March, 2016) consultation was also conducted with 12- to 18-year-old students in a number of different types of school settings.

The general framework for peer and youth consults included the following questions which were refined by the committee and given to those gathering feedback with an understanding that some leeway in following the outline was acceptable:

For peer consults:

  1. Do you have any comments with regard to the above six modules?
  2. What age group do you think would be appropriate for such resources?
  3. Is any of this material already covered by other programs in your community?
  4. Do you feel that any one of these topics should not be covered in this program?
  5. Do you have suggestions as to additional topics that should be covered in this program?
  6. In terms of concept, importance, how much time should be spent on each topic in relation to the others?
  7. What would be an appropriate sequence for module topics?
  8. Do you have any suggestions as to the best way of presenting this program?
  9. This program is intended to be partially presented to mixed gender groups and partially presented to single gender groups.  Do you feel that that will create any implementation difficulties for school administrators or community members?
  10. Is there a particular academic course or community group that should incorporate this program into its content?
  11. Who should facilitate these program sessions?
  12. What will be the best way of selecting and training facilitators to present this program material?
  13. What suggestions do you have as to how to engage students in promoting, implementing and providing follow-up feedback for this program?
  14. Should this program seek to create special advisory groups in each school or community agency, or would it be better to expand the role of an existing student group to include this program?
  15. Do you have suggestions as to the best way of informing parents about this program, and enlisting their support?
  16. Do you have any other suggestions as to how this program should be implemented?
  17. What concepts/tools do you feel would be most valuable under each section?

For youth consults:

  1. Do you have any suggestions as to the best way of facilitating or presenting these modules?
  2. These modules are intended to be partially presented to mixed gender groups and partially presented to single gender groups.  Do you feel that that will create any implementation difficulties for schools or facilitators?
  3. Is there a particular academic course that might best incorporate these modules into its content?
  4. Who might best facilitate these modules? 
  5. What supports might facilitators need as they introduce sensitive topics?
  6. What suggestions do you have as to how to engage facilitators and students in promoting, implementing and providing follow-up feedback for this resource?
  7. Do you have suggestions as to the best way of informing parents about these modules, and enlisting their support?
  8. Do you have any other suggestions as to how or when these modules might best be implemented?
  9. Do you have any other comments with regard to the above six modules?

Thanks to the considerable energies of the committee members much rich information was gathered from these sessions, which will undoubtedly be instrumental in informing and guiding the work of the content developer.

 

                                  Part A: What We Heard From the Peer Consults

Comments on the six modules:

  • Appear to cover the primary concepts required
  • They all seem to fit nicely together for this program
  • The first module should begin with a general discussion about defining what is a "relationship" – creating a working definition; include types of relationships (considering age appropriateness). 
  • In the wording of the first module – maybe we need to be defining "relationships" before we can talk about "better communication" 
  • Ensure that self-care and self-esteem are mentioned in units
  • Include warning signs of abusive relationship 
  • Focus on how most communications among young people are via text – technology has taken over how young people communicate
  • Will there be a focus on sexual assault? Consent?

Recommendations on appropriate age groups:

  • Love to see healthy relationships start in middle school at grade 7. Statistics indicate that more and more young people, as young as age 11 are starting relationships.
  • The Domestic Violence Unit currently attends Planning 10 classes and presents on dating violence, sexual assault with focus on consent and sexting. Teachers and students agree that presentations should be happening at a younger age
  • Aspects of all modules can be incorporated into programs on a continuum – In this way, we would be able to build on previous knowledge.
  • Discussion about starting the program in grades 5 or 6
  • All ages focus on healthy relationships in the school system.  It starts with talking about respect and caring classrooms with students as young as Kindergarten.  In my experience the 'meaty' content around healthy relationships starts with young teens to adults – we start discussing this subject matter (specifically modules 1, 2, 3 and 6) with students in grade 8 and continue through to grade 12 through presentations and modules in some courses (Planning, modules in PE, Family Studies, even briefly when looking at current events that might lend themselves to these topics) at school.
  • This program would be valuable at a middle school setting and offered to students from middle school to graduation.
  • Ages 13-18
  • I feel an appropriate age to start is grade 7 then annually or every two years as a review.
  • I believe adolescents age 15/16+ would be appropriate for such resources; they have increasing emotional maturity and may actually be entering into meaningful relationships within which they would utilize these skills.  These concepts could be used in everyday life for this age group.

Is any of this material already covered by other programs in your community?

  • The school system does try to fit these modules in, although there is no specific curriculum for it.
  • Don't know—similar content programs for adults but I'm unaware of programs for youth
  • I know many programs for youth exist; I do not have knowledge of program content and purpose
  • DVU presentation (approx. 1 hour 15 min) includes dating violence – what is dating violence, ten warning signs of abuse, what are healthy and unhealthy relationships. Sexual assault – what is sexual assault, reality check stats, what is consent, age of consent, different types of sexual assault, sexting and risks, and where can you go for help and how can you help a friend

 Do you feel that any one of these topics should not be covered in this program?

Resoundingly: No.

 Suggestions for additional topics:

  • No from most
  • Sexual assault covered?  Consent? Who to contact for support? Suggestions on how you can help a friend?
  • I'm kind of curious to know how the intergenerational cycle may play a part in the program. 

In terms of concept, importance, how much time should be spent on each topic in relation to the others?

  • It might depend on the group being presented to as to what the greater need is. If this is targeted to a group that has been identified for domestic violence, I would guess that there would be a greater emphasis on modules 4 & 5 above.  If being presented to a diverse group, I would guess that all modules could be equally weighted in terms of time.
  • I believe the most amount of time should be spent on communication skills and exploring the thought, feeling, behaviour link.
  • Skill based modules may require more time to practice than other modules

What would be an appropriate sequence for module topics?

  • The feeling is that the sequence is appropriate; a few individuals wondered if we should first have students work through modules 4 and 5 before they can dig deep into module 3
  • As long as there was a link between one module and the next, the order shouldn't really matter.  The module that does seem to be the first one to me is module 2. The other modules could spin off from there.
  • Sequence: --> thought, feeling, behaviour link --> characteristics of healthy relationships --> learning how to develop a healthy relationship --> impacts of unhealthy relationships --> understanding and managing anger --> building relationships through better communication.
  • Understanding the dynamics of a healthy relationship and the impacts of an unhealthy relationship should be taught first.  This has the most impact on adult participants and is a good way to get consensus from the participants about what they are working towards.  Skills based modules should come toward the end.

What is the best way of presenting this program?

  • Use of handouts, videos (lots online) with discussion, group work, presenters – community based victim services or DVU units
  • Ideally counsellors should play a significant role in working with staff to build competency and skill in presenting the material, and doing check-ins if students are triggered.  Teachers need to be identified who will have the skill to facilitate classroom discussions and present the material; or counsellors could be the facilitators
  • Should be presented similar to the DARE program in schools: it is assigned to a particular grade level curriculum and an outside presenter comes in to a class to present the material
  • Short sessions in duration, frequent sessions, not mixed gender groups.
  • Small groups where discussion can be supported. Presentations involving people presenting info with mixed media (overheads with info; PowerPoint; video clips; charts/graphs with stats, etc..) seem to keep the audience interested.

This program is intended to be partially presented to mixed gender groups and partially presented to single gender groups.  Do you feel that that will create any implementation difficulties for school administrators or community members?

  • Beneficial for mixed gender groups.  DVU has been requested to speak with only females and declined request due to fact that dating violence affects both genders – ended up presenting to mixed gender class.
  • Not from my experience in a public secondary school setting.
  • No – schools have the ability to manage this; the district needs to endorse the importance of incorporating this program into schools and relay this message to school Admin.  Schools will need time to plan at the secondary level.
  • This would be something that needs to be tested to a gender mixed class and a gender specific class before any final determinations can be made.  As we know, females are more likely to be victims in relationships, so separating the females from the males may be more beneficial to teach the signs of abuse, power/control and inequality and the female students may be more willing to actively participate in discussions w/o male students in the room.
  • I am not supportive of mixed gender groups.

 Is there a particular academic course or community group that should incorporate this program into its content?

  • Currently part of Planning 10, however, I hear it is changing to be part of PE.
  • There may need to be some flexibility for districts to link this program into a course or subject area based on the way the school has built their timetable, their course offerings, etc.  Also: teachers' comfortableness and fit.
  • Healthy Relationships is part of the Health & Career Education curriculum that is typically 'embedded' in courses throughout grades 8-12. It is a part of Planning 10 and Graduation Transitions 12.  As mentioned earlier, PE teachers may cover this in their curriculum and Family Studies 12 (an elective) covers this topic. In order to reach ALL students, schools often bring in outside groups to present to the entire school. This year we've brought in Children of the Street Society for grades 8-10; the RCMP's End Gang Life for grades 11-12; and Vancouver Coastal Health's BLUSH to present to smaller groups of grades 9 & 10 students).

Who should facilitate these program sessions?

  • At school level, teachers and/or counsellors would be sufficient, but presenters who are familiar with healthy and unhealthy relationships should be utilized 
  • There is a feeling that a counsellor should facilitate if possible or play a significant role
  • Outside presenters are always appreciated by teachers as the students don't always see their teachers as people who would know information outside of their subject area(s).  It might limit the type of questions and the depth of discussion that students may be willing to have. Also, some teachers are not comfortable with the subject matter and may not do justice to the topic.
  • An outside presenter attached to a community or justice agency should facilitate the program (perhaps attached to the RCMP, MCFD or the YMCA).  Students need to develop a relationship with the facilitator that is not attached to any other role in their day to day life.  It allows the student to develop trust and participate fully.  This course should not be delegated to teachers as there is too much variance in what and how teachers present material.  Plus teachers have enough to do.
  • I feel the program should be facilitated by at least 1 trained PO with a male/female mix.

 What will be the best way of selecting and training facilitators to present this program material?

  • District level staff will need to be involved in making decisions about training as this may have financial implications (bringing staff together for training, debriefing)
  • Facilitator selection should follow that utilized by corrections – people who genuinely believe in the value of the material and are willing to maintain program integrity; for this potential program, facilitators should also be very skilled at program delivery for adolescents.

What suggestions do you have as to how to engage students in promoting, implementing and providing follow-up feedback for this program?

  • DVU has not handed out individual feedback forms to students, but have followed up with all teachers. Teachers follow up with students and ask students to either provide feedback verbally or written (e.g. journal, one page handout). To date, DVU has received great feedback from teachers, students and administrators 
  • Delta school district involves students through student advisory groups; this program should build in a process for ongoing feedback and evaluation
  • Presentations could have a follow up assignment that could be left with the classroom teacher to use. Presenters often ask students and/or staff to complete a brief survey after the presentation to gather feedback.
  • Feedback could consist of a formal feedback form which we typically fill out at the JI, but modified somewhat for a classroom setting. 

Should this program seek to create special advisory groups in each school or community agency, or would it be better to expand the role of an existing student group to include this program?

  • This will depend on each school district and what is already being implemented
  • I don't know that it's necessary to seek or create advisory groups. Many schools do have an LGBQ group that, as part of their initiative, promotes the importance of healthy relationships.  Also, student councils / leadership students of all the high schools gather to discuss important topics throughout the year at "Table 38" meetings.
  • Please keep it simple.  The RR program works, don't change it too much and allow others to muddle with it.

Do you have suggestions as to the best way of informing parents about this program, and enlisting their support?

  • School level – parent notices, parent forums
  • Our district has a parent advisory committee, as well as school PAC's; information; this may need to be discussed with the BCSSA
  • Promotion can be done through school newsletters, websites and PAC groups, as well as through the school counseling center.  The School District PAC (DPAC) can share the information out to individual school PAC groups.
  • Send home an information package which includes community resources and support for domestic violence (victims?)

 Do you have any other suggestions as to how this program should be implemented?

  • Suggestions that all the modules are developed and shared as a whole and submitted to all partner groups for review/amendments prior to implementation; perhaps have a couple of pilot districts with a process for teacher, student and parent review
  • Please don't give it to teachers

 What concepts/tools do you feel would be most valuable under each section?

  • Currently show the following videos in DVU presentations:

Slap video

Phone Call - The Line, Love is Respect

Tea Consent - Clean version

  • Scripts, teaching materials, links to videos and other resources; Objectives, goals and strategies clearly laid out; Linking to new BC Curriculum
  • I'll leave that up to the experts J
  • As much as we hate role playing, I feel at that age it may be a strong technique in delivering some of the key concepts of the program and this is something that could be implemented into each session.  We all know that bullying initiatives are highlighted in most schools these days, so these two initiatives could work off of each other.  Also, I think having students actively involved in the learning i.e.: group/individual exercises, role plays, group discussions, homework and so forth is critical throughout the program. 
  • I anticipate this program will generate high degrees of emotions from students and this is something the outside facilitator will need to be aware of.  
  • Concepts/tools for each section: similar to those utilized in RR.
  • Thought, feeling behaviour link – working through behavioural progressions to increase recognition of each phase of decision making.
  • Understanding and managing anger – emotions recognition modified for adolescents, modified relaxation techniques, time outs, self-management skills, coping skills, etc., for adolescents.
  • Communication skills – modified techniques for adolescents - I statements, being assertive, setting boundaries, etc.

 

Part B: What We Heard From the School Consults

LocationGrade(s)# of StudentsGender
Secondary School (Alternate program)10-126 studentsFemale
Alternate School 9-1210 studentsMale+1 female
Independent Middle School 6-810 studentsMixed
Aboriginal themed Middle school6-86 studentsMixed
Secondary School (Mainstream) 129  students Mixed

 

Recommendations on facilitation:

  • Facilitator should be somewhat relatable to students. Suggestions included: outside facilitator aged 20-30 years old, grade 12's teaching grade 8's, or a teacher who is easy to talk to and interested in the topic
  • Present modules in an interactive format (i.e. Role playing and skits that involve the students)
  • Break students off into smaller groups for some portions. Many students are concerned about judgment or humiliation when speaking openly about these topics. Group sizes from 6-10 students were recommended
  • Modules should not be covered all at once. Spreading the information out over a few weeks or the school year is more effective and less dull for learning

Recommendations on Gender composition of groups:

  • Overall, most students felt that the majority of information should be taught in a mixed gender setting, and separation of the genders should occur for only certain topics.
  •  Students felt learning and practicing together would minimize discomfort in transitioning from classroom to real life situations
  • Project officer observed that the younger students (grade 6-8) were more concerned with talking openly in front of opposite sex, whereas the older students encouraged co-ed learning
  • LGBTQ must be considered for all of the modules and discussions (LGBTTIQQ2S)

Recommendations for incorporating Respectful Futures into curriculum:

  • For high school students, best incorporated into Planning 10/11/12
  • One school runs a program called "Link Leadership" (an elective program offered to Grade10/11/12 which links them up with a grade 8. Goal is for the senior student to be a supportive figure for high school integration). This program consists of several projects, games, and support systems.
  • HACE (Health and career education)
  • Many students recommended a course that is mandatory so everyone  has access to the information (Suggestions included English, Social studies, or computer class)
  • All students felt that grade 6 and onward is a crucial time for youth to learn this information,  as well as tailoring the information to each age is important

Recommendations for supports of sensitive topics:

  • Have a school counselor present in the room in case anyone needs support, and as a set of eyes to see if anyone is triggered.
  • Send a notice around to give students an idea of what will be discussed, include contact information if they would like to speak to the facilitator beforehand
  • Send around a questionnaire at the beginning of the session for the facilitator to look over, which asks students anonymously if they have any issues with the topics so they can be more sensitive in presenting

Recommendations for implementation and follow up:

  • Create a website or an app where students can sign on, read over information, and give feedback on up to date topics for them to consider teaching about it. Also provide access to the facilitator via email.
  • Have a program like Link Leadership or a student advisory/ youth  group that runs throughout the year and promotes healthy relationships

Recommendations for informing and enlisting support from parents:

  • Send informative booklets home to parents with a contact person listed for further questions
  • Hold a session in the evening for parents to attend where they can learn the material and skills their children are learning

Extra feedback from students:

  • Make sure you are giving tools and "how-to's" rather than just information ,especially in the module about unhealthy relationships i.e. positive and productive tools for fixing relationships if one doesn't want to leave an unhealthy relationship
  • Teach about different types of people and how some are more sensitive and some are not open about feelings (how not to take things personally, boundaries)
  • Teach how to end a bad relationship or break up and how to deal with your own hurt/disappointment when you get broken up with
  • Explain how to reflect so you can change yourself if you aren't being a good friend or boy/girlfriend
  • Teach about being taken advantage of in the module about control
  •  Focus heavily on internet usage: what not to put on social media, how it's easier to insult someone online rather than to their face, how it can affect your life forever
  • Teach how to know who your real friends are in the second module(characteristics of (un)healthy)
  • Go over healthy balances/not losing yourself in a relationship
  • Recognizing power, like shared power and how that's healthy vs. one person having all of the power.
  • Talk about how to have relationships with parents, girls get very mean around grade 9 and we can't control it
  • Talk about intimate relationships for the more senior students-we all have them and don't know how to access resources (example: birth control) we just get scare tactics in sex-ed
  • Discuss red flags and warning signs of mental/verbal/emotional abuse
  • Discuss pressure, expectations, your rights, leading someone on vs. not, respectfully rejecting someone, people changing
  • Make everyone agree not to discuss anything personal that was brought up outside of class i.e. confidentiality agreement
  • If you are talking about relationships, genders should be mixed because you need to understand both sides, not create a stronger divide
  • Teach people what the consequences are if you are abusive
  • How to fight in a healthy way rather than to win the argument

 

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Script link [do not remove]

Session info
Time: 12/18/2017 2:15:50 PM
Host: AS77
Ref# f747d