History of the centre

University House 3, home of CFYS at the University of Victoria.
University House 3, home of CFYS at the University of Victoria.

After the death of 14-year-old Reena Virk, who was beaten and drowned by her peers in Victoria in November 1997, the University of Victoria recognized the importance of youth health and the prevention of violence.

At that time, the University identified more than 20 faculty members in several departments involved in youth health and other youth-related research. This work, however, was usually conducted along faculty lines and separated by academic disciplines. Relationships among faculty members and with the community and media were ad hoc and intermittent. Under the leadership of Dr. Bonnie Leadbeater (Psychology), a core group of interested faculty researchers came together and formed the Youth & Society research group.

Seed funding to the group in January 1998 and subsequent funding from several sources (including SSHRC, CHSRF, the National Crime Prevention Centre, and the Queen Alexandra Foundation of Victoria, now Children's Health Foundation) have supported research that has reduced the gaps in community and university efforts to improve the well-being of youth in our society.