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Learn more about training opportunities on institutional analysis ...
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Praxis offers fee-based Audit consulting services ...
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What is a Safety Audit?

The Praxis Safety Audit is a multi-system problem-solving tool ...
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Best Practice Assessment Tools

Used for examining systems' responses to battering ...
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Community Assessment Reports

A compilation of Safety Audit reports ...
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A variety of resources on institutional analysis ...
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Impact map

Map of communities across the country that have used the Institutional Analysis Audit tools ...
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The Logistics Guide

The Audit Coordinator’s Logistics Guide (Logistics Guide) is intended to offer behind-the-scenes planning and organizational support for conducting a successful ...



Since 2003, Praxis has provided consulting and training to communities to analyze institutional responses to gender-based violence through the use of institutional analysis, community assessment, best practice assessment, and Safety and Accountability Audits.

Praxis has developed Institutional Analysis methods for systems change work rooted in the field of sociology called institutional ethnography. Our tools provide approaches for activists and representatives from institutions to work together to examine and change case processing routines to better meet the needs of the people they are intended to serve. Institutional Analysis is a method of examining how complex institutions and systems operate. It discovers the specific ways workers are organized and coordinated, directly and indirectly, to approach and act on cases.

Institutional Analysis can be used to discover information about: (1) people’s actual lived experiences with institutions or systems; (2) how current front-line practice is organized; (3) gaps between the official process and the actual process; (4) problems that require a shift in policy and practice; (5) whether recommended policies and protocols have been implemented as intended; (6) how harmful consequences, inequities, and disparity of impact might be structured into a system or institution’s response; and (7) impact of changes in policy and practice.

The Institutional Analysis tools have been utilized extensively in the criminal and civil justice systems, supervised visitation, and child protective services to assess responses to gender-based violence. They avoid pointing fingers of blame at individuals for failing to protect survivors of gender-based violence. Practitioners and advocates work side by side to analyze how systems organize day-to-day work routines to either centralize or marginalize attention to survivor safety and well-being and offender accountability.

The following tools developed by Praxis help local, interagency teams to reveal systemic problems and produce recommendations for institutional change:

The Center for the Study of Social Policy has formally adapted Praxis Institutional Analysis to examine disparity in foster care placements for African American children.

The Center for Regional and Tribal Child Welfare Studies at the University of Minnesota-Duluth has formally adapted Praxis Institutional Analysis to examine the implementation of the Indian Child Welfare Act by county-based child protection agencies.

Who can I contact for more information?

Contact us at to learn more.

Comments from past trainings:

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This is what we came for - tools to conducting an assessment/audit!

February 23, 2016

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It really clicked! Doing an assessment/audit is essential for us to have a successful prevention/intervention CCR.

February 23, 2016

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Really liked the small group break out and focus on text analysis; liked the demonstration of how to have a discussion.

February 23, 2016

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Completing the Patrol Module has made the most significant, positive impact of anything we

February 23, 2016

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"Our role is never to help the legal system manage cases or women's lives--it is to continue to make women's real experiences visible and to make women's safety a goal of the legal intervention and the responsibility of the community."

April 22, 2016

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“The community safety assessment is one of the most profound and meaningful tools that is available for improving the systems that deal with domestic violence and sexual assault. Thank you Ellen and Praxis!”

February 1, 2017

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Quote from Ellen Pence, founding director
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"Activists and advocates need to be continually reflective about how institutions, such as the criminal justice system, reproduce relations of domination in society, whether gendered, racialized, or classes. And the workings of power are often far more visible to women on the margins of society, or those situated in the intersections of different relations of inequality, than to those nearer the center."

May 4, 2016