Reducing Stigma, Fostering Resilience for LGBTQ Youth

More than a decade of research shows lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) youth throughout North America experience significant health inequities compared to their heterosexual peers, such as depression and suicide, problem substance use, even teen pregnancy. Societal stigma often leads to violence targeted towards LGBTQ youth, or teens who are thought to […]

New Community Report on Analysis of Intersectoral Collaboration

How do we fill the gaps in care for street-involved youth with mental health challenges? SARAVYC is pleased to announce the release of its newest community report, “Four Organizations Partnered to Address Youth Homelessness in Vancouver”. This report details the process of intersectoral collaboration between St. Paul’s Hospital Inner City Youth Program, Covenant House Vancouver, […]

Congratulations and Farewell to Dr. Yuko Homma

It is with great pride (mixed with regret) that we announce that Dr. Yuko Homma, our senior postodoctoral fellow at SARAVYC, has accepted a position as Associate Professor at a new School of Nursing which will be opening in 2015 near Osaka, Japan. Dr. Homma has been an amazing asset to our research team over […]


Our centre presented 8 posters at the Society for Adolescent Medicine’s Annual General Meeting March 23 – 26 in Austin Texas! Click the links below for the published abstracts.

National Inventory of School Systems Interventions for LGBTQ Youth now launched!

For more information about this project and the 47 partnering school boards and trustees across Canada, go to:

Community report released on urban young men’s use of health and social services

“What guys say, and what they do: Urban young men’s use of health and social services” is a community-friendly report about a mobile device survey with 276 urban young guys age 19 to 25 in Vancouver and Victoria, and one‑on‑one interviews with 43 of the guys. We asked them about their health issues, the kinds […]

NP Partner profiled in American Journal of Nursing

Laurel Edinburgh, Nurse Practitioner, is featured for the next two weeks in “Off the Charts”, the American Journal of Nursing’s (AJN) blog. Laurel has been a research partner of SARAVYC’s for many years, working on the Runaway Intervention Project. Click here to read the AJN’s blog “Off the Charts”.

News media reinforce sexual exploitation stereotypes

Our article “Competing discourses about youth sexual exploitation in Canadian news media” came out last week in the Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, Vol 22 (2). For the official UBC Press Release, click here. Click here for an interview with Dr. Saewyc published in the Metro.

Canadian Trans Youth Health Survey has launched!

Canadian Trans Youth Health Survey has launched!

Anti-homophobia measures in schools reduce binge drinking for all students

Our research, published August 2013 in the journal Preventive Medicine, indicates that Canadian high schools with anti-homophobia policies or gay-straight alliances (GSAs) that have been in place for three years or more have a positive effect on both gay and straight students’ problem alcohol use. For more information, see the UBC Press Release, this article […]

Sexual health and risk behavior among East Asian adolescents in BC

The first Canadian research study of East Asian teen sex, completed by Dr. Saewyc and Dr. Homma of SARAVYC, was released this month in the Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality! For more information, see the official press release or download the open access article.

Homelessness Partnering Strategy

The partnership between St Paul’s Hospital Inner City Youth Mental Health Program (ICYMHP), Covenant House Vancouver (CHV), Coast Mental Health (CMH) and BC Housing (a subsidiary of the Ministry of Social Development) has lead to providing housing and psychiatric services to at-risk, street involved youth (17-24) in Vancouver’s downtown core. The partnership’s delivery model is […]

Dr. Saewyc speaks about LGBTQ youth on People First Radio

Tune into CHLY 101.7 FM in Greater Vancouver & Vancouver Island on Thursday May 31st at Noon. The show will be rebroadcast on Monday June 3rd at Noon. The podcast is available at:

Award-Winning Poster at UVic Nursing Conference

Congratulations to Carla Hilario, whose research poster The Study of Risk and Resilience in Adolescent Mental Health Research: Examining Protective Factors in the Lives of Southeast Asian Youth in BC, was awarded for excellence in content and visual design at the University of Victoria nursing research conference, ‘Both/and’ not ‘Either/or’: Valuing multiple modes of inquiry, on May 10.

CIHR Cafe Scientifique: “Resilience in Youth Coping with Stigma”

On Thursday May 9th from 7 – 9pm, SARAVYC will be part of a CIHR Cafe Scientifique on “Resilience in Youth Coping with Stigma” in collaborating with the School of Nursing and the Department of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy at UBC. Cafe Scientifique is an interactive community event featuring brief talks from experts followed […]

Dr. Saewyc presents at King Fahd Medical City in Riyadh, Saudia Arabia

From March 19 – 21, Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc visited Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, where she delivered the keynote speech for the “Young People’s Health Conference, the prospect in GCC”, the 10th International Scientific Conference for the Saudi Society of Family and Comunity Medicine, as well as presented Pediatric Grand Rounds at King Fahd Medical City […]

Congratulations to Eva McMillan!

Eva McMillan, who was a Research Assistant with us for more than two years, has recently accepted a CIDA Internship in Zambia! For the next 6 months, she will be working as the Program Evaluation and Monitoring Officer for “Women For Change” through VIDEA, Canada.

Although less than 10% of East Asian adolescents in British Columbia were sexually active, approx. 70% of those who’d had sex engaged in one or more risky sexual behaviours (Homma, Saewyc, Wong & Zumbo, 2013)

Although less than 10% of East Asian adolescents in British Columbia were sexually active, approx. 70% of those who’d had sex engaged in one or more risky sexual behaviours (Homma, Saewyc, Wong & Zumbo, 2013).

Quebec researchers launch governmental campaign against homophobia

Dr. Line Chamberland and her team in Quebec are working with the provincial government to combat homophobia. Last week they released two 30sec.TV clips,  one radio clip, and a new website:!  

SARAVYC co-hosts event about Gender Non-Conforming Youth

On Wednesday March 27th at 7pm, SARAVYC will co-host a workshop: “Caring for Gender Non-conforming Children and Teens in the New Millenium” (click on title for PDF of poster) Simon Fraser University, Harbour Centre Campus (downtown Vancouver) 515 West Hastings, Segal Centre Room 1420-30 Vancouver BC Coast Salish Territories Free Admission * Light Refreshments * Accessible Venue […]

New article in CATIE’s “Prevention in Focus”

“Beyond vulnerability: Breaking the link between violence and HIV risk for young people” by Elizabeth Saewyc & Bonnie Bea Miller was released today in CATIE’s (Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange) peer-reviewed publication “Prevention in Focus”. Read the full article on CATIE’s website.

“Girls on the Street, Period” Community Report Released

SARAVYC has released a short community report on the ways young street-involved women deal with getting their periods without housing. The report includes recommendations for service providers from the young women. For the full report, click here.

What is a “Vulnerable Group”?

Vulnerability is defined as “capable of or susceptible to being wounded”. When SARAVYC talks about vulnerable groups, this means people who may face some challenges in their lives due to things like discrimination, living arrangements, socioeconomic status, and so on. Youth can be considered a vulnerable group because they are developing and often are not […]

Fast Facts: Youth and Sex

In British Columbia, 78% of high school students report never having had sex (Smith, Stewart, Peled, Poon, Saewyc, & McCreary Centre Society, 2009). Neither older (16 -17 years old) nor younger (14 -15 years old) are more likely to be involved in a teen pregnancy, or have sex under the influence of alcohol or drugs. […]

Eliminating verbal, physical, or sexual violence in the lives of Canadian boys and girls would decrease youth suicide attempts by up to 78% (Saewyc & Chen, 2013).

Eliminating verbal, physical, or sexual violence in the lives of Canadian boys and girls would decrease youth suicide attempts by up to 78% (Saewyc & Chen, 2013).

Fast Facts: Young Women

Among older street-involved youth (ages 19-25), a higher percentage of females reported sexual exploitation than males (53% females vs. 32% males in 2001). Females were more likely to be sexually exploited while living with family than males were. 16% of women reported emotional or physical violence in the past six months. Of those who […]

Laurel Edinburgh, St. Paul nurse, on Minnesota Public Radio

SARAVYC Co-Investigator Laurel Edinburgh has been interviewed on Minnesota Public Radio. Read the full story: “How one St Paul nurse is helping runaways heal”. The interview was sparked by the Minnesota Public Radio story, “Runaway girls focus of Minnesota fight to curb sex trafficking”. You can read more about this research on our website, under […]

Fast Facts: Young Men

1/3 of young men who are street-involved or in custody have been sexually exploited. Young men who are street-involved or in custody are just as likely as young women to be sexually exploited. Among younger street-involved youth (ages 12-18), a greater percentage of males were exploited than females (34% males vs. 27% of females in […]

What is LGBTQ?

LGBTQ is an acronym that stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning or Queer, and is often used to describe the “sexuality and gender identity-based” community. Another acronym that is more inclusive but is seen less often is LGBTTTQQIAA– Which stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Two Spirited, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual and […]

Fast Facts: LGBTQ Youth

1/3 of exploited youth identify as LGB. (This means that if a youth identifies as sexually exploited there is a 33% chance they will also identify as LGB. It does not mean that 33% of LGB youth are sexually exploited.) Asian Canadian teenagers who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual are 30 times more […]

What is Sexual Exploitation?

Sexual exploitation occurs when youth under age 19 trade sexual activities with adults in exchange for resources such as money, drugs, food, shelter, gifts, transportation or other material considerations. It is illegal to sexually exploit minors, regardless of their presumed, assumed or even with their given, or explicit consent. For more information and to report […]

Fast Facts: Sexually Exploited or Abused Youth

On average, about 8% of males and 20% of females in North America report a history of sexual abuse. While many youth were exploited for money or drugs, a significant number also exchange sex for basic necessities such as shelter, food, transportation or clothing. This is a hidden population,” says principal investigator Dr. Elizabeth […]

What is the Age of Sexual Consent?

As of 2008, the age of sexual consent is 16 years old in Canada. This means that it is illegal for adults in Canada to have sex with a partner under the age of 16.  However, the law includes a “close-in-age exception,” meaning 14- and 15-year-olds can have sex with someone who is less than […]

What is “Street Involved?”

Street-involved means that a person does not have enough, or stable housing; some may be homeless, couch surfing, staying in shelters, camping, or temporarily staying with a friend or partner (girlfriend or boyfriend), or maybe they currently have a house or apartment but this may not be guaranteed for long.

Fast Facts: Street-Involved Youth

Research with youth who were street-involved or in custody has found that more than one in three such teens have been sexually exploited. At SARAVYC we work closely with the McCreary Centre Society. McCreary has published several reports on street-involved youth in BC. For a complete list of these reports, see: A report […]

Fast Facts: Youth and Violence

1/5 university students experienced violence in the last 6 months. The stress from experiencing violence can affect students’ grades, their mental health, even their long-term physical health. Almost 50% of the emotional violence and 20% of the physical violence reported by both men and women came from intimate partners (people like boyfriends or girlfriends, husbands […]

SARAVYC & the Men’s Health Initiative release new report on BC Boys’ Health

“The XY Factor: The State of Boys’ and Young Men’s Health in British Columbia” was prepared for the Men’s Health Initiative of BC by members and affiliates of our SARAVYC team, using population-level data to provide information on key factors of health and health challenges for boys and young men in British Columbia. Some of […]

Who are Aboriginal Peoples?

“Aboriginal Peoples” is a collective name for the original peoples of North America and their descendants. The Canadian constitution recognizes three groups of Aboriginal people: Indians (commonly referred to as First Nations), Métis and Inuit. These are three distinct peoples with unique histories, languages, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs. More than one million people in […]

Fast Facts: Aboriginal Youth

1/3 -1/2 of exploited youth identify as Aboriginal (This means that if a youth identifies as sexually exploited there is a 33-50% chance they will also identify as Aboriginal. It does not mean that 33-50% of Aboriginal youth are sexually exploited.) At SARAVYC we work closely with McCreary Centre Society. McCreary has created a […]

What is a Dual Minority?

A dual minority is someone who fits into 2 or more minority categories.  For example, being of a minority sexual orientation (like LGBTQ) and being of an ethnic minority would make someone a dual minority. If people are discriminated against for being a dual minority it can create high stress rates.  For example, Asian Canadian […]

Fast Facts: Asian LGB Youth

6% of Asian Canadian boys and 11% of Asian Canadian girls identified as LGB or mostly heterosexual, representing an estimated 4,389 students enrolled across the province. Asian Canadian LGB youth were 26 to 29 times more likely than their heterosexual peers to report being discriminated against due to their sexual orientation. Asian Canadian sexual minority […]

Who are youth involved in Government Care?

These are youth who have been involved foster care, group homes or Youth Agree­ments, as managed by the Ministry of Child & Family Development in BC.

Fast Facts: Homestay Students

Homestay students are youth from across the world who come to Canada to go to school and experience Canadian culture by staying in a home with a family without their own parents. However, there is no formal oversight for the industry, and homestay families are not required to be screened or licensed. This means that […]

McCreary Centre Society Reports

The Director or SARAVYC, Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc, is also the Research Director at McCreary Centre Society. We often work with McCreary and many of our studies are based on data from their work with the Adolescent Health Survey (AHS) and the Street Youth Health Survey (SYHS). The AHS is completed across British Columbia every 4-5 […]

SARAVYC at Marion Woodward Lecture

SARAVYC will have a booth at the UBC School of Nursing’s Marion Woodward Lecture at UBC Robson Square on Thursday November 22nd. The lecture takes place 7 – 8pm with a reception to follow. Come talk to our staff and trainees about our research 5 – 9pm.

Transience Project

Health inequities among street-involved youth are often theorized in the literature to be due to transience, which disconnects them from social capital; however, transience has been variously defined and seldom directly studied in health research. Using the BC 2006 Street Youth Survey, we are measuring geographical transience (the movement between cities or regions) and residential transience (numbers of […]

The 10-Question Tool for Police to Screen Runaways for Safety and Referral

An evaluation of the first 2 years’ use by the St. Paul’s MN police (n=300 reports) found that nearly 1 in 5 girls had been sexually assaulted while they had been on the run; most of them were referred to and received healthcare services. This novel intersectoral approach to screening via law enforcement helps identify, […]

Childhood Sexual Abuse, Substance Use and Substance-Use Related Sexual Behaviour in a Rural School Population

“Best Poster” Award at the Issues of Substance Conference, Vancouver 2011 Principal Investigator(s): Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc Co-Investigators: Dean Nicholson Funding Agency: Interior Health Authority and CIHR Completed: 2011 – 2012

It’s Not What You Think: Sexual Exploitation Among Street-Involved and Marginalized Youth in BC

This community report used responses from 1,845 youth from 5 different health surveys of street-involved and institutionalized youth conducted by the McCreary Centre Society in cities across B.C. between 2000 and 2006. Key findings were that 1 in 3 street-involved youth reported sexual exploitation, males and females were equally likely to be exploited, and LGBTQ […]

Psychometric Evaluation of Scales in the BC Adolescent Health Survey 2008

Since 1992, the BC Adolescent Health Survey has been conducted every 5 years in school districts across BC. The surveys have included a number of scales related to family and school connectedness, peer attitudes, school safety, and emotional health. In 2008, the fourth survey added some additional measures related to cultural connectedness and self-esteem. Because […]

Moving Upstream: Aboriginal Marginalized and Street-Involved Youth (Report)

Using the 2006 Street Youth Survey, this report (a collaboration between the McCreary Centre Society and the BC Child and Youth Health Research Network [CYHRNET]) specifically looked at the health of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis youth in British Columbia, as over-represented in the sample of street youth as compared to youth in public schools. […]

Identifying Effective Outreach Services for Sexually Exploited Young Women

A qualitative study of sexually exploited young women (n=14) in Minneapolis that elicited their stories about exploitation and their perspectives on how street outreach workers could best help them. Principal Investigator(s): Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc Co-Investigators: Laurel Edinburgh Funding Agency: CIHR Completed: 2009 – 2011

Enacted Stigma, Gender, and Risk Behaviours of School-Aged Youth

This mixed methods international study explores enacted stigma behaviors reported among Indigenous, Asian-ancestry, and European ancestry adolescents in Canada, New Zealand, and the US, and examines both association between enacted stigma and health risk behaviors in populations among adolescents as well as protective factors that may mediate this association. Principal Investigator(s): Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc Co-Investigators: […]

Being Heard, Being Safe: LGBTQ People Speak Out Against Violence

Principal Investigator(s): Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc Co-Investigators: Amy Fox; Cheryl Leggett; Christopher Drozda; Dr. Jennifer Breakspear; Dr. Laura MacKay; Jayson Anderson; John DeHaas; Suzanne Clarke Funding Agency: Vancouver Foundation Completed: 2010

Guys and Grief: Young Mens’ Responses to Accidental Death of a Peer

Young men are at higher risk of injury and death than young women, and certain groups of young men are at higher risk that other young men. Within these high risk groups of young men, little is known about how they react to the death of a friend, how this event may or may not […]

The use of Mobile Phone Text Messaging in Youth Sexual Health Education

Principal Investigator(s): Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc Co-Investigators: Lyndsay Symonds Funding Agency: CIHR

The sexual health of northern, rural, and remote youth in care

Principal Investigator(s): Dr. Heather Peters Co-Investigators: Dr. Cathy Chabot; Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc; Dr. Jean Shoveller Funding Agency: CIHR

The influence of violence exposure and protective factors on trends in adolescent health and risk behaviours

The purpose of this study is to help answer, at the population level, several questions: To what extent are decreases over the past decade in risk behaviours among youth in BC, such as substance use and risky sexual behaviours, due to declining trends in sexual and physical violence, discrimination or harassment among youth in school? […]

Minnesota Runaway Intervention Project (RIP 10 Questions)

The Runaway Intervention Project (RIP) provides health care, intensive support and life skill development for young runaway girls (aged 10 to 15) who have been, or are at risk of being sexually assaulted or exploited. The aim of the program is to help girls heal from trauma and rebuild self-esteem and connectedness to family and […]

Layers of Stigma among Adolescents: Developing a Comprehensive Measure

Most stigma measures are for a single characteristic, such as mental illness, or HIV/AIDS. This approach does not allow us to capture “layered” stigma (i.e., the compound effects of stigma from multiple stigmatized characteristics). We will develop a general stigmatization. The measure will include items that tap three dimensions of stigma; enacted stigma (rejecting hostile […]

Guys Unlimited: Young Men Speak Up about Health & Social Services in BC

Much research on health and social services for youth has focused on the gender-specific needs of young women with little attention being directed to the specific needs of young men. This mixed-methods study explores how young urban men between the ages of 19 to 25 experience health and social services in British Columbia. Three hundred […]

Girls on the Street, Period

Girls living on the streets experience multiple health issues and face barriers to accessing adequate health care. This project will explore the way that street involved girls in Vancouver manage menstruation in often unstable and challenging circumstances, order to gain better understanding of their health practices and beliefs. Information from this study will help to […]

Discourse Analysis of Sexual Exploitation in Canadian News Media

Using a mixed methods approach we are critically exploring the discourse used in printed news media to describe the sexual exploitation of youth. Our data set includes approximately 1300 articles from various newspapers across Canada, 1988 – 2013 that discuss specific events, issues, research findings, and policy or legal changes related to the sexual exploitation of […]

Cross-national comparisons of sexual exploitation and other health issues among street-involved youth in Korea and Canada

Based on both countries’ status as signatories of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, this study explored rights-related areas of health inequity among street-involved youth from both countries. Inequities included contraceptive use and teen pregnancy, self harm and suicide attempts, school attendance, and sexual exploitation. Principal Investigator(s): Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc; Dr. Kyun-Jun […]

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