Outcomes & Impact: Highlights from 28 Safety & Accountability Audits Conducted Across the United States

In early 2016, Praxis distributed a survey to communities asking them to document concrete changes in their institutional responses to violence against women that they could attribute to having conducted a Safety & Accountability Audit. The survey also asked them to document the impact those changes made in the experiences of survivors and offenders with those institutions. We also spoke with several audit team members to gather similar information. All told, we gathered information about the impact and outcomes of 28 Safety & Accountability Audits and highlight what we found out in the document below.

Praxis Safety & Accountability Impact & Outcomes 2016

Implementation of Safety Audit Recommendations

Communities across the country have struggled with how to move from the investigation phase of the Audit to the crucial phase of the implementation of audit recommendations. To find out more, in March of 2010, we interviewed seven audit coordinators and two lead audit team members from eight different communities about their experience implementing recommendations identified by their audits. This report is an overview of the interviews that we hope will assist current and future auditors to anticipate and avoid common pitfalls and plan for and utilize successful strategies to implement recommendations. The report summarizes themes that arose during the interviews in the following areas related to implementation of audit recommendations: process and administration, impact of the audit, challenges to implementation, recommendations not implemented, and central lessons for other communities. Also included is a site-specific summary of approaches to implementation.

 Implementation of Safety Audit Recommendations

Domestic Violence Safety & Accountability Audit

A three-page handout briefly describing the Safety and Accountability Audit’s philosophical underpinnings and methodology. This can be used as a reference when describing the Audit in grant applications.


Domestic Violence Safety & Accountability Audit – Potential Interagency Connections

Mapping is a method used in the Safety & Accountability Audit process to breakdown the steps taken in an agencies response to a case. This is a sample map of potential inter agency connections arising from the processing of a domestic violence case in the criminal justice system.

Sample interagency map

Working from Inside and Outside Institutions: How Safety Audits Can Help Courts’ Decision Making Around Domestic Violence and Child Maltreatment

Ellen Pence and Martha McMahon, 2003

Reprinted with permission from the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, Juvenile and Family Court Journal, Vol. 54, No. 4.

As systems begin to work collaboratively to address the overlap of domestic violence and child maltreatment, systems analysis approaches are also being explored to test the effectiveness of collaborative interventions in meeting the needs of victims and their families. This article provides a detailed overview of the Safety Audit model, describes how Safety Audits are being used in the field, and discusses how the courts can incorporate Audit findings into decision-making around domestic violence and child maltreatment.

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Building Safety for Battered Women and Their Children into the Child Protection System

Ellen Pence and Terri Taylor, 2003

This report draws from the experience of three separate communities that wanted to explore the use of the Safety and Accountability Audit in child protection cases where there has been a history of domestic violence. This report shows how to use case files and focus groups to locate systemic problems in the handling of these cases. It is a preliminary examination of the problematic practices in working with battered women within a child protection case.

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Safety for Battered Women in a Textually Mediated Legal System

Ellen Pence

 Download Chapters 1 – 4
 Download Chapters 5 – conclusion

Safety and Services: Women of Color Speak About Their Communities

This report discusses the themes and findings from a series of listening sessions (or focus groups) conducted by The Center for Family Policy and Practice (CFFPP) in four states (Minnesota, Missouri, Texas, and Wisconsin) to explore and document domestic violence service priorities as identified by: 1) women of color who are victims/survivors of domestic violence, 2) advocates of color, and 3) a broad range of community service providers. Each group was asked a similar series of questions about the kinds of services that are available to low-income women of color, barriers that get in the way of women utilizing services, unmet and outstanding needs, the kinds of services that are available for men in the community, and perspectives on providing collaborative, community-based services in low-income communities of color. An underlying premise of this report is that differences in race, culture, class, and gender frame people’s experiences and delineate their options. Our goal is to appreciate the context and attend to the impact of race and class in the lives of low-income women of color as we work to develop and improve domestic violence services in traditionally underserved communities.

 Safety and Services: Women of Color Speak About Their Communities