Background: An extensive evaluation of the impacts of the PASSAJ Program was conducted with the participation of over 2,300 students from fifteen schools in four different regions of Quebec.
Objectives: This evaluation of the PASSAJ Program aimed to determine whether or not students participating in the program: showed improved anti-violence behaviours; felt more empathy for victims; perceived themselves as better equipped to help victims; and lastly had less involvement in violent relationships as compared to students who did not participate in the program.
Methodology: The program, composed of three sessions, was offered in eleven schools during a period of three to four weeks. Students in four other schools agreed to complete four questionnaires without participating in the program. In the eleven schools where the program was offered, classes were divided into experimental and comparison groups. The students in the comparison groups completed only the first two questionnaires prior to participating in the program. In the experimental group, the students completed the first two questionnaires in school and the final two questionnaires were mailed to students’ homes for completion. Administration time is approximately 50 minutes. The evaluation of program efficacy was conducted using 2,360 completed pre-test questionnaires and 2,340 completed post-test questionnaires. The first follow-up with students three months post-program and the second one at eleven months post-program provided researchers with some long-term data from the program.
Results: The evaluative research showed that in the short-term the students who participated in the PASSAJ Program demonstrated better attitudes and knowledge about sexual harassment and violence in their dating relationships than did the students who had not participated in the program. Another significant result was that teens who participated in the program indicated they felt more capable of intervening in violent situations.
The evaluation results showed that students had maintained the improvements in attitudes and they continued to feel capable of taking action up to almost a year post-program. By contrast, a drop was documented in the students’ knowledge levels; nonetheless, this level remained higher than the level measured prior to the start of the program. This finding confirms the importance of repeating conceptual notions. The handouts distributed to the students following each session therefore play an important role in concept recall. It would also likely be beneficial to ensure that students review theoretical content by writing an in-class test, thereby helping to boost retention of information.
On the behavioural level, we found some encouraging results from follow-up measurements almost a year post-program. Males who had taken part in the program indicated that in the previous six months, they used significantly less sexual harassment compared to males in the comparison group. As for female participants in the PASSAJ program, they indicated experiencing or committing lower levels of sexual abuse in their intimate relationships over the previous six months compared to their counterparts in the comparison group.