Looking for the gaps between survivors lived experiences and what institutions provide is at the core of a Praxis Safety and Accountability Audit

Peoples’ lives are complex and the factors that reinforce or diminish justice, safety, and well-being are also complex. Because there is no single, universal survivor and no universal offender, an Audit has to be alert for one-size-fits-all kinds of responses and promote careful attention to the complexity of life circumstances and social standing.

The Story of Rachel and Story of Sameera DVDs are several resources to help your Audit Team focus attention on this complexity. Material in The Praxis Safety and Accountability Audit Toolkit is another piece. As an Audit Coordinator, be very familiar with the introductory section of the Toolkit and its “foundations.” Make poster-size versions of the key graphics and use them as reference points in the training and every team debriefing (email safetyaudit@praxisinternational.org for extracted image files).


Take time to challenge your assumptions about “culture” and the intersections of aspects of culture, life circumstances and social standing, and institutional response


Focus groups (or listening sessions, community consultation, discussion circles) with survivors are also key tools in making visible institutional responses to the complexity of their lives, and how those responses can enhance or diminish justice, safety, well-being, and healing

Focus groups can be a reflection of how well the Audit sponsoring agency is connected with and trusted by the community. In other words, difficulty in organizing focus groups can signal a lack of connection and trust. It can also be an opportunity to build and reinforce those connections. The following series of documents provide basic information about planning and conducting community focus group discussions, particularly with survivors. It includes a planning checklist, sample flyers, sample questions, and a guide for facilitators. They were compiled by Jane Sadusky, Jane M. Sadusky Consulting, LLC, a Praxis International Technical Assistance Partner.

alt=""Focus Groups: A Tool for Data Collection and Community Change
alt=""Planning Focus Groups with Survivors
alt=""Using Focus Groups in an Audit
alt=""Focus Group Flyer Samples
alt=""Survivor Focus Group Facilitator Guide
alt=""Using Scenarios in Focus Group Discussions

alt=""Sample Domestic Violence Focus Group Consent Form (English)
alt=""Sample Domestic Violence Focus Group Consent Form (Spanish)
alt=""Sample Sexual Violence Focus Group Consent Form (English)

alt=""Sample Sexual Violence Focus Group Consent Form (Spanish)


 You would rarely conduct a focus group in front of the entire Audit team, but you will report back the key themes and questions raised in discussions with survivors and community members

alt=""Focus Group Summary Examples


 Audit methods have been used to explore aspects of institutional response in distinct communities, with specific attention to how that response accounts for culture and identities

alt=""Tailoring Safety Audits to focus on equity and reducing disparity of impact
alt=""Safety and Accountability Audit of the response to Native women who report sexual assault in Duluth, MN 2006-2008
A Discussion of Accounting for Culture in Supervised Visitation Practices: The City of Chicago, Illinois Demonstration Site Experience, 2005
Race Equity Review: Findings from a Qualitative Analysis of Racial Disproportionality and Disparity for African American Children and Families in  Michigan’s Child Welfare System, 2008
Community-Based Analysis of the U.S.Legal System’s Intervention in Domestic Abuse Cases Involving Indigenous Women, 2002


 Consult the following organizations for information and resources

Seek out their counterparts in your own community or state.