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ADAGE (Attitudes Development for Gender Equality) is a 3-year project funded by Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE) that aims to: (1) identify attitudes (thinking, feeling and behaviors) that lead to family and gender-based violence and (2) Develop an educational module on preventing family and gender-based violence. Preventing gender-based violence within the context of family and interpersonal relationships is a key strategy in attaining gender equality.

To identify these attitudes, various focus group discussions were conducted representing women, men and youth coming from diverse multicultural background. Thematic analyses of data from the focus groups underscored five (5) emerging themes of attitudes that needed to be addressed in preventing family and gender-based violence. Notably, attitudes related to rigid gender role and identity of women, family upbringing and expectations, existing power imbalance, communication patterns and need for action and strategies for both personal and community levels were repeatedly mentioned as attitudes that need to be addressed in preventing family and gender-based violence. Participants felt valued and respected in a relationship when there is mutual respect, non-violent communication, shared responsibility and equal distribution of power and independence.

Drawing on the main emerging themes, the educational module sessions were conceptualized with mutual respect as an overarching value. The educational module was developed around three themes: Cultivating Respectful/Non-violent Communication, Nurturing Healthy Relationships and Managing Emotions Responsibly and Self- Care.

With the active engagement of community partners, the module sessions were pilot tested among youth and adult population. Overall evaluation of the sessions revealed that the module content and session activities were very well received.

Follow-up interviews were conducted with a number of participants after a 3–4-month period to assess any changes. Participants reported both big impact and positive changes to the quality of their personal and social relationships and overall well-being. Respectful communication, learning how to connect with people, handling relationships differently and being aware of boundaries were identified as some of the skills that they were able to practice in enhancing their relationships.

Recommendations we received suggested that the educational module can be useful for newcomers, immigrants, and refugees in empowering them for a meaningful and successful integration in Canada. This will also provide a significant impetus in preventing family and gender-based violence and in sustaining ongoing efforts towards attaining gender equality.


VLMFSS gratefully acknowledges the generous support of Women and Gender Equality (ADAGE) Canada for fully funding the ADAGE Project.

We also wish to express our sincerest gratitude to the following individuals and agencies for their commitment and dedication in working collaboratively towards the prevention of family and gender-based violence and the advancement of gender equality:

– WAGE Project Managers
– Advisory Committee Members for their invaluable guidance and providing strategic direction to the Project
– Focus Group and Module Pilot Participants for their active participation.
– Project Site Coordinators, Settlement and Youth Workers for their remarkable contribution in providing an opportunity and space for the newcomer and immigrant groups to pilot our educational modules
– Project Consultants and Evaluators for providing priceless input and suggestions.
– VLMFSS Staff, Management and Project Team Members for their kind and generous support in inviting, recruiting participants for the focus groups and educational module pilot and providing very essential language support as needed
– Practicum Students for their active participation and assistance in organizing the Information Sessions

Stay tuned for updates regarding the ADAGE project by visiting this page and by following us on instagram (@vlmfss).

Mom and two kids

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