The SPARX Project

The SPARX project, initiated in 2019, is a continuation of the Youth Romantic Relationships (YRR) survey and aims to develop best practices to promote positive romantic and intimate relationships and prevent dating violence. The SPARX project is funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada and led by Martine Hébert, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Interpersonal Traumas and Resilience.

Preventing violence in youth relationships

The social-ecological model served as an anchor for conceptualizing the program and identifying the risk and protective factors surrounding violence in romantic and intimate relationships, and subsequently formulating the different components of the program. In addition, each component was developed using the intervention mapping approach, a theory- and evidence-based framework for planning health promotion programs using a systematic methodological approach. Based on this framework, needs assessments were conducted with all target populations to develop tools adapted to their specific realities and needs. The development of the SPARX program relied on a co-construction approach, promoting the ongoing involvement of partners and target populations throughout the various stages of the program development and evaluation. In addition to the expertise of the program's key partners - Tel-jeunes and the Direction régionale de santé publique (DRSP) de Montréal - working groups involving all target populations were set up to support the development and optimization of tools in a collaborative environment.


Resulting from a co-construction process and supported by an advisory committee since its conceptualization, the SPARX program consists of four distinct components:

1 Youth Component

A series of 6 educational workshops are offered to grade 9 and 10 youth.

In grade 9, workshops focus on positive intimate relationships, communication, conflict management and romantic break-ups. In grade 10, workshops address the dynamics of violence in romantic and intimate relationships and the role that youth can play as active bystanders in dealing with violence.

2 Youth Ambassador Component

Committees of young leaders act as ambassadors for the program within the partner schools.

Committees are asked to organize awareness and prevention activities related to workshops that promote positive and healthy dating relationships within their school. These activities include, for example, creating posters, setting up booths and organizing mini-workshops for youth.

3 School Staff Component

An online training to raise awareness and provide pedagogical tools to school personnel.

School staff have access to online training to raise awareness on the issue of dating and intimate partner violence and to support them in their interactions with youth regarding sex education, promotion of healthy relationships and prevention of dating violence.

4 Caregivers Component

A series of informative videos designed to equip parents and significant adults surrounding youth.

These videos capture much of the workshop content from the perspective of the adults who accompany and support youth. Practitioners and youth offer valuable insights and advice on how to address romantic and intimate relationships and dating violence with teens.

In addition to the four components, the SPARX program offers a website that contains a range of information and interactive activities for youth and caregivers.

We would like to thank all the people who contributed to the SPARX project. To find out who was involved in each of the components, click here:


The SPARX project team would also like to acknowledge the contribution of the advisory committee members and warmly thank all those who participated in the various consultation activities, including the members of the youth, caregivers and school staff committees.