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Family Violence - Lesson Plan (Grades 7 & 8)

Note: Contact us by e-mail to receive the Lesson Plan PDF version. Requests will be answered between 7:00am and 3:00pm, Monday to Friday.


  • To learn about family violence.
  • To teach youth how to recognize family violence.
  • To identify strategies for dealing with family violence.
  • To list supports available to youth dealing with family violence.


Reference documents are found at the end of this lesson plan.


Other Materials:

  • SMART board/chalk board to summarize responses on
  • Chart paper and markers for groups to use
  • Computer/projector to display slides (optional)
  • Index cards


  • Icebreaker
  • Introduction: 5 minutes
  • Activity #1: Types of Family Violence 20 minutes
  • Activity #2: Two Myths, One Fact 10 minutes
  • Activity #3: Who Can Help? 15 minutes
  • Activity #4: Alternate Endings (Continued on after presentation) 5 minutes
  • Conclusion 5 minutes

Total: 60 minutes

Presenter Preparation:

  • Review the Family Violence section of the Centre for Youth Crime Prevention.
  • Review the Objectives of this lesson plan.
  • Identify ways in which you are personally linked to the subject matter. This presentation is general in nature, and will be more effective if you tailor it to your personal experiences, the audience and your community.
  • Guest speakers can have a real impact. If there is someone in your community who has been affected by family violence, or perhaps a family counsellor, invite them to speak with the youth. NOTE: Activities will need to be removed to allow for this time adjustment.
  • Make sure the teacher has a copy of the self-assessment titled "Are the Issues in Your Family Normal?" and have students answer questions prior to presentation.
  • Print the lesson plan and the reference documents.
  • Print required handouts. Make a few extra copies just to be sure.
  • Gather material needed.
  • Ensure your location has any technology you require (computer, projector, SMART board, etc.).


A) Icebreaker

  • Place the cartoon strips on the board for the students to see as they walk in to catch their attention.
  • Briefly discuss the cartoon and how family violence is portrayed in it.

Comic #7 - Dating violence

[ Image Description/Larger Image ]

B) Introduction

  • Introduce yourself.
  • Tell the students about your job and why you are here to talk to them. Tell students that in today's class they will talk about family violence, the impacts that it can have and ways they can deal with it. Additionally, they'll learn about the different supports to help them deal with the issue.
  • If you are a police officer, briefly discuss the role of police officers when it comes to family violence (i.e. your experience dealing with youth and family violence issues).
  • Pass out one index card to each student. Explain that this card is to be used for students to write down any question they may have. The presenters will collect them towards the end of the presentation and answer the questions anonymously in front of the group.

C) Activity #1: Types of Family Violence

Goal: Students will learn the various types of family violence
Type: Matching Game
Time:15 minutes

Step #1:

  • On the SMART board or overhead projector show types of family violence (optional).
  • Explain to students that they are going to be given a card. The card will be either: (1) one of the types of family violence (e.g. Neglect) or (2) a definition of a type of family violence.

Step #2:

D) Activity #2: Two Myths, One Fact

Goal: Students will enhance their knowledge of family violence by distinguishing between the myths and the facts.
Type: A multiple choice sheet where students must select the correct response.
Time: 10 minutes

Step #1:

  • From the previous activity, have one student from each pair go to one half of the classroom, creating two groups.
  • Distribute Activity #2: Two Myths, One Fact (7-8.2 Handout) to students. Tell the students that as a team, they are to decide which of the three statements is true. Ask them to select a spokesperson who will share their final answers.

Step #2:

  • As you go through the questions one at a time, award a point per team per correct guess.
  • As you are going through the answers, make sure to discuss each myth and answer any questions the youth might have about the true statements. The correct answers for each question can be found in Activity #2: Two Myths, One Fact (7-8.2 Reference)at the end of this lesson plan.

E) Activity #3: Who Can Help?

Goal: To list supports that are available for youth
Type: A worksheet to help youth identify supports around them.
Time: 15 minutes

Step #1:

  • Tell students that sometimes we may find ourselves in situations that we don't know how to get out of. In these situations, it is important to understand that there are lots of people that they can contact to get help, or to keep things under control. Even if we don't want to talk about it with our friends, it doesn't mean we're alone; there is always someone who can help.
  • Instruct students that in this activity, they will create a list of emergency contacts that they can go to in times of need, (should they see or experience something at home that makes them uncomfortable).

Step #2:

  • Provide students with a copy of Activity 3: Who Can Help? (7-8.3 Handout). Tell students to list any sources of support that they can think of. Prompt students by suggesting that they think about people in their life, school and community. Give students 1 minute to complete the worksheet. When they are finished, write the students' suggestions on chart paper/ SMART board. The teacher should post them on the wall in the classroom as a future reference for students.
  • Inform students that if they know someone who is a victim of family violence, there are a number of things that they can do to help.
  • Use Activity #3: Who Can Help? (7-8.3 Reference) to guide the conversation.

Note: be sure to discuss the possibility that a friend may come to them as a contact if they are a victim of family violence. Refer to tips on what they should do in 7-8.3 Reference and discuss.

F) Activity #4: Alternate Endings

Goal: Enable students to recognize various ways in which they can deal with or prevent family violence.
Type: Comic strip created by students.
Time: 15 minutes

Step #1:

  • Have students remain with their partners for this activity.

Step #2:

  • Post a copy of Activity #4: Alternate Endings (7-8.4 Reference) on the SMART board or chalkboard. Explain to the students that they are to pick one of the scenarios listed and draw a picture that represents a positive way to deal with the family violence situation. Allow 10 minutes (or more if time is not an issue) for students to complete this step.

Step #3:

  • Once the time is up, ask students to explain what they thought the person should do next to deal with the situation that they chose. Example alternate endings can be found on Activity #4: Alternate Endings (7-8.4 Reference) found at the end of the lesson plan.
  • Remind students that family violence can happen to anyone and that no one deserves to be a victim of family violence. Remind them that they have people who support them and are willing to protect them, and that they are never alone. Remind students of the list they made in Activity #4: Who Can Help? (7-8.4 Handout).

G) Conclusion

  • To conclude the lesson, summarize the important points and highlights of your discussions throughout the session.
  • Collect all index cards from students. Take some time to answer any questions from the cards that the students may have had.
  • Briefly discuss the self-assessment and let the students know that if they answered "yes" to one or more of the questions, they may be experiencing something that is not a regular family issue and they should call someone to talk to about the situation.
  • Leave students with information about how to contact you if they have any follow up questions they didn't want to ask in class.

Reference Documents

Activity #1: Types of Family Violence--Matching (7-8.1 Reference)


When someone who is supposed to care for another person fails to provide them with their needs, E.g. not buying a winter jacket for a person in their care.


When someone uses actions or words to control, frighten or isolate another person or take away their self-respect. It is also sometimes called psychological abuse, E.g. telling someone that they're useless, unloved, etc.


Intentionally using force against someone, E.g. somebody kicks someone when angry.


When someone forces someone else to engage in unwanted sexual activities, or make them watch or look at inappropriate videos and images, E.g. forcing someone to look at pictures of naked men and women.


Violence, mistreatment or neglect of an older person, often at the hands of a family member or their primary care-giver, E.g. when a family member takes advantage of their older relative by encouraging them to co-sign a lease, or convincing them to buy them an expensive gift like a four-wheeler.


When someone uses property or control to exploit another person, E.g. someone refuses to pay child support when obligated to.


The abuse of a person who is your spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, or common-law partner. It is also sometimes referred to as domestic violence, E.g. someone threatens their significant other with a knife.


When there is abuse, maltreatment or neglect between family members, E.g. a child is punched by a parent out of anger or as an act of punishment.


Repeated acts that cause someone to fear for their personal safety, E.g. following someone wherever they go without their consent.


When one partner repeatedly abuses the other partner (girlfriend/ boyfriend, spouse, common law partner, etc.). The violence usually occurs in stages (periods). The violence is usually followed by guilt and excuses. The victim and the abuser are then very happy and everything seems perfect. Eventually, tensions start to build up and the cycle restarts.


When someone is abused by her family or community because their clothing, behaviour or choices is perceived has unacceptable and damaging to their family's "honour."


When someone is forced to marry someone they don't want to. Other forms of abuse may be used to make them obey.

Activity #2: Two Myths, One Fact (7-8.2 Reference)

We are now going to put your knowledge to the test! In every question, there are three statements, two of which are false (myths) and one of which is true (fact). Circle the fact in each set of statements.

  • I'll never become a victim of abuse.
  • Family violence doesn't only happen in families with heterosexual (straight) parents.
  • Family violence doesn't happen in high income families.
  • Most abusers are mentally ill.
  • People who abuse others don't usually mean to hurt them, they just have trouble controlling their anger.
  • It's hard to tell who an abuser is just by looking at them; they often blend in with the crowd.
  • Victims sometimes get blamed for not leaving an abusive relationship.
  • If someone really didn't want to be abused, they would just leave the house.
  • If someone is getting abused, it's because they deserve it.
  • A parent hitting their kids is just their way of showing love and discipline.
  • Children can be victims of family violence even when they are not directly the targets of the violence.
  • A parent hitting their child to make them behave is not a form of abuse.
  • Family violence is something that wouldn't happen in my neighborhood.
  • It's easy to prevent family violence.
  • Abusers aren't always abusive in every relationship.
  • Abuse is a form of control.
  • Alcohol and substance abuse (drug abuse) are the only reasons why family violence occurs.
  • Whenever there is stress within a family, some form of abuse is expected to occur.
  • Family violence can cause victims to have lowered levels of self-esteem.
  • People with low self-esteem are most likely to become victims of family violence.
  • Victims are always able to develop healthy relationships away from those who abuse them.

Activity #3: Who Can Help? (7-8.3 Reference)

When I need help, I can ask…

  • A parent/guardian
  • An older sibling
  • A relative or neighbor
  • A teacher, education assistant, principal/vice principal
  • A friend
  • Older student
  • Coach, police officer, or Elder
  • Help lines (e.x Kids Help Phone)
  • In emergencies call 9-11

If a friend approaches you for help or you think they need help:

  • Reach out and ask if something is going on at home. Believe that they are telling the truth.
  • Listen to what they're saying and try not to jump to conclusions or tell them what to do.
  • Encourage them to talk to a guidance counsellor, call child protective services or police.
  • Check in on them to see how they're doing. Also, encourage them to do things that help take their mind off of what they're going through.
  • Talk to a trusted adult about the situation, even if you're sworn to secrecy. If you keep that information to yourself, you can't stop what's happening! Consider talking to a trusted parent or guardian, teacher, guidance counsellor or community leader.
  • Remember to look after yourself; supporting a friend can be hard work.
  • You can always call Kids Help Phone if you don't know what to do or just need to talk to someone about the situation.

Activity #4: Alternate Endings (7-8.4 Reference)

After reading through the examples of family violence below, pick one scenario and draw (on a piece of blank paper) what a person should do to properly deal with the situation. For example, maybe the solution merits the individual speaking to a counsellor on the Kids' Help Phone. Afterwards, share your pictures with the class and explain why you chose that specific ending.

  1. Jimmy hears his parents arguing upstairs one morning before leaving for school. As he's just about to go out the door, he decides he can't stand their arguing anymore and wants to jump into the situation.
  2. Jessica goes over to her grandmother's house and notices that she has no groceries and the milk has gone bad. She asks her grandmother if her Aunt Judy had been doing the groceries for her lately, and Jessica's grandmother says she can't remember. Jessica is very upset with her aunt.
  3. One day, Cynthia and her older sister are home alone and have to make themselves dinner. Cynthia loves to cook, so she decided to take on the task. Unfortunately, she wasn't paying attention and she burnt dinner. Cynthia's sister was extremely angry and immediately began telling Cynthia that she is worthless and won't amount to anything. She even went so far as to call her stupid and ugly.

Briefly describe the drawing and what you chose to do next to handle the situation.

Examples of ways that the situations could be handled in a positive and safe way:

  1. Jimmy could:
    1. Call 9-1-1 if he felt that his mom's safety (or his own) was at risk.
    2. Call the Kids' Help Phone to talk to a counsellor anonymously, talk to a teacher or to another trusted adult.
    3. Talk to his mom at a later time when they were alone.
    4. Jimmy should not put himself in the middle of a fight, no matter what was going on. The argument could potentially escalate and he may even put himself in danger.
  2. Jessica could:
    1. Speak to her mother or father and tell them about what was going on.
    2. Talk to her grandmother about the situation and ask if there was anything she could do to help.
    3. Offer to get the groceries for her grandmother and speak to her aunt at a later time.
    4. Jessica needs to make sure that her grandmother has everything she needs to survive.
  3. Cynthia could:
    1. Call her parents to tell them what was happening.
    2. Remind her sister that accidents happen and everyone makes mistakes.
    3. Suggest that they order a pizza for dinner instead.
    4. In order for Cynthia to resolve this problem, she likely needs to get help from her parents.

**Make sure to remind students that although some people might not see this as family violence, arguments and conflicts between siblings can be very dangerous and can cause a lot of harm – emotionally and physically. Remind them that they are able to talk to parents, guidance counsellors, other trusted adults or even Kids' Help Phone (1-800-668-6868) if they need someone to speak with.