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U of R researcher receives federal funding to take on violence and bullying

By University Advancement and Communications Posted: November 12, 2020 9:00 a.m.

Dr. Raven Sinclair receives $400,000 for research to support Indigenous youth and take action against violence and bullying.
Dr. Raven Sinclair receives $400,000 for research to support Indigenous youth and take action against violence and bullying. Photo: Michael Bell Photography

Bullying and violence among Canadian youth is a serious problem. Children who are bullied can suffer from headaches, depression, and anxiety. Those who bully – and those whom they bully – are at risk of suicide.

Saskatchewan children face even greater risk.

According to a 2019 CBC survey, nearly half of Saskatchewan elementary students say they have been physically assaulted at school at least once. The Canada-wide poll also revealed that Saskatchewan elementary school students have experienced more violence than their counterparts across the country.

Today, the federal government announced funding for a research project to support Indigenous youth and take action against violence and bullying.

The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, announced $400,000 in support of the Northern Prairie Spirit Youth Cultural Continuity Project being led by the University of Regina’s Dr. Raven Sinclair.

“I am proud to announce federal funding for the Northern Prairie Spirit Youth Cultural Continuity Project,” says Blair. “It is important that we understand the issues Indigenous youth face around violence and bullying. This Project will provide the University of Regina with the resources that are needed to explore ways to develop culturally-sensitive prevention practices when it comes to violence and bullying.”

The funding was made available under the Northern and Aboriginal Crime Prevention Fund (NACPF).

Sinclair, a professor in the Faculty of Social Work, says the objective of this research project is to collaborate with youth in Prince Albert, Pelican Narrows, Wollaston Lake, Stanley Mission, and Fond Du Lac to understand issues surrounding violence and bullying from their perspective. One of the co-investigators on the project is Dr. Brigitte Krieg, a former faculty member in the Faculty of Social Work and a mental health therapist for several northern communities with established relationships with the communities involved in the project.

“Participants will learn to use digital storytelling to create individual and group stories related to the community and will share project information with stakeholders across the province. Recommendations for supports and resources will be implemented in each community,” says Sinclair.

Sinclair says her team will also explore ways to develop culturally-sensitive crime prevention practices among Indigenous and northern populations.

“We also hope that ultimately youth will develop confidence, research, writing, and public speaking skills, as well as to understand the role of research in informing policy and program development for when they become community leaders and service providers,” explains Sinclair.

Dr. Kathleen McNutt, Vice-President (Research) at the University of Regina, says the funding will help to support Dr. Raven Sinclair’s work to make a real difference in the lives of Indigenous youth who are vulnerable to violence and bullying.

“By understanding these issues from the youth’s perspective, Dr. Sinclair and her team will be able help develop the tools and resources needed for culturally-sensitive crime prevention practices for Aboriginal and northern populations," says McNutt.

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