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Aboriginal Violence & Abuse Prevention Project

Researchers from the Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network (PREVNet) and the Canadian Red Cross have received $2.5 million in funding to study a violence prevention program for Aboriginal communities in Canada and Australia. The grant, awarded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), will fund a major national project: Walking the Prevention Circle (WTPC): Re-searching Community Capacity Building for Violence Prevention.

The project follows Aboriginal traditional methods and provides education and mentoring, allowing communities to create nurturing and stable environments for children and youth. Leaders are trained to lead education sessions for youth and adults on aspects of violence, child abuse, bullying and building healthy relationships.

According to Dr. Debra Pepler, this grant provides “an extraordinary opportunity to collaborate with communities in learning how they engage with the Red Cross community capacity building process to share knowledge, promote stronger relationships, and move from the cycle of violence resulting from colonization to the circle of healing based in Aboriginal traditions.” Dr. Debra Pepler is the Scientific Co-Director of PREVNet and aDistinguished Research Professor of Psychology at York University, Adjunct Senior Scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children. This grant contributes significantly to PREVNet’s mission to stop bullying and promote safe and healthy relationships for all Canadian children and youth.

Dr. Pepler will be collaborating with Shelley Cardinal, National Aboriginal Advisor for the Canadian Red Cross, as well as other researchers and partners for the five-year project. The project will receive more than $1.2 million in matching funding from partnering organizations.

Walking the Prevention Circle has received consistent acclaim from Aboriginal communities as being one of the best prevention programs available,” says Cardinal. “This funding will provide an incredible opportunity for the Red Cross to identify and understand how we contribute to healthy change in Aboriginal communities and then share that learning.”

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