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What is a Safety Audit?

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Community Assessment Reports

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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 been providing training and technical assistance (TA) to communities funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women to analyze institutional responses to violence against women through the use of institutional analysis, community assessment, best practice assessment and Safety and Accountability Audits.

A primary focus of the Violence Against Women Act has been to change the social conditions that give rise to violence against women by altering traditional, often harmful, practices of institutions which either contribute to or ignore this violence. As such, OVW grantees are all engaged on some level in analyzing and altering institutional practices that fail to protect victims.

Praxis offers methods for institutional analysis and systems change work rooted in the field of sociology called institutional ethnography. Our tools provide ways for activists and representatives from institutions that process “cases” to move toward approaches that alter the ongoing case processing routines that ultimately shape case outcomes. The tools avoid pointing fingers of blame at individuals for failing to protect victims. Practitioners and advocates work side by side to analyze how systems organize the day-to-day routines of individual practitioners to either centralize or marginalize attention to victim safety.

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The following tools developed by Praxis reveal systemic problems and produce recommendations for institutional change:

  • Checklists for Best Practice in the following responses to domestic violence:
    • 911 Emergency Communications
    • Police Patrol
    • Police Investigation
    • Prosecution Charging Decisions

The goal of this technical assistance project and our general consulting services is to develop the ability of communities to improve institutional responses to “cases” of violence against women. The Praxis methods of institutional analysis/community assessment have been used to examine the responses to domestic violence and sexual assault in the following areas:

  • Criminal justice system
  • Civil justice system
  • Supervised visitation
  • Child protection

Beyond technical assistance to grantees under the Office on Violence Against Women, the Center for the Study of Social Policy has adapted the Praxis method of institutional analysis to examining disparity in foster care placements for African American children.

Who can I contact for more information?

Maren Woods at (651) 699-8000 or

This project is supported by Grant #2011-TA-AX-K050 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions and recommendations expressed during this presentation are those of the presenter(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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