The Rural Digest 
The Rural Digest features replicable, time-tested intervention models, social change-advocacy strategies, and tools, templates, and materials as part of Praxis’ technical assistance to rural communities. We want to support you in your work. Note: current grantees of OVW’s Rural Program will receive email notification of these newsletters. If you think you are not on this email list, please email us at to let us know and we’ll get you added to our list.

Fall leaves on forest floor

Praxis can advise you on the implementation of your rural coordinated interagency responses to violence against women and/or assist you in strengthening individual and institutional advocacy on behalf of survivors. Access our centralized Rural Clearinghouse to learn more about rural-specific training, TA, information, strategies, research, and to connect with your peers (list of current Rural Grantees). 

Advocacy Strategies: Resource Highlights
Protecting Survivor Privacy
VAWA Confidentiality and Protections 
CCR Strategies: A Practical Tool for Rural Communities – The Praxis Domestic Violence Best Practice Assessment
Upcoming Rural and Related Training Events
Uniquely Rural Resources, Approaches, and Information

 Advocacy Strategies: Resource Highlights


Victim Rights Law Center logoProtecting Survivor Privacy in Rural Areas
The Victim Rights Law Center (VRLC) has a new tip sheet: Protecting Survivor Privacy in Rural Areas. This tip sheet offers concrete ideas for protecting the privacy of sexual assault, dating and domestic violence, and stalking survivors’ privacy. It addresses five of the most-significant issues faced by victim services providers working in rural communities: 1) How to Maintain Confidentiality in a Close-Knit Community; 2) How to Let Victims Know about Your Services While Protecting Their Information; 3) How to Get from Here to There (transportation-related tips); 4) How to Transport Files Securely; and 5) How to Obtain Written Releases under VAWA. The tip sheet incorporates pointers from the field and is refreshingly free of legal jargon.

VRLC provides technical assistance for OVW grantees about survivor privacy and welcomes any questions you may have about privacy issues that come up in your work with survivors in rural areas. You may contact them at For more information about VRLC visit their website at


VAWA Confidentiality and Protections for Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence   National Immigrant Women's Advocacy Project NIWAP logo
As the number of immigrant family violence victims accessing justice increases, so does the need for advocates to understand federal statutory protections afforded to immigrant crime victims by the Violence Against Women ACT (VAWA). In June 2018, Praxis conducted a webinar in partnership with National Immigrant Women’s Advocacy Project (NIWAP) that was packed full of important and up-to-date information for how to best protect immigrant victims of domestic violence. Listen to the recording or peruse many of the key resources to strengthen your response to immigrant victims. 

 CCR Strategies: A Practical Tool for Rural Communities – The Praxis Domestic Violence Best Practice Assessment    four linking arms

The Domestic Violence Best Practice Assessment Guides and Tools are available for communities who want to use the lessons learned from over thirty years of CCR efforts, research, as well as recommendations from more than seventy Safety and Accountability Audits to examine and enhance their system’s response to domestic violence and battering. The focus of the current tools are on coordinated community responses, specifically 911 through prosecution charging decisions. The guides direct small, interagency teams to:

  • Identify ways to reduce erroneous arrests of women who are battered and use force
  • Enhance risk and danger assessment and information-sharing
  • Strengthen interagency linkages
  • Increase agency transparency and accountability for enhanced outcomes

Particularly useful for small, rural jurisdictions, the process involves three simple steps: 1) Organize and prepare, 2) Map and examine case processing, and 3) Report findings and recommend changes. The Guides provide the detail required to successfully conduct the assessment with a small group of practitioners, including direction about who should be on the team, how to access and prepare files for review, and checklists of core practices to guide team members’ review of case files. Below is just a sampling of the rural communities we have worked with who have conducted the Best Practice Assessment.

Billings, Montana (2014)

Project Title: Domestic Violence Best Practice Assessment: 911 through Patrol Response to Domestic Violence

Lead Organization(s): Billings Police Department, Billings City/County 911 Center, Billings City Attorney’s Office

Discipline of Team Members: Dispatcher, Investigator, Domestic Violence Coordinator, Billings Police Department; and Victim Witness Program Director

Funded by: STOP Violence Against Women Act Grant

PDF icon Full report

Williams/McKenzie, North Dakota (2013)

Project Title: Domestic  Violence Best Practice Assessment of the Police Patrol and Investigation Response to Domestic Violence

Lead Organization(s): North Dakota Council on Abused Women Services

Discipline of Team Members: Council on Abused Women’s Services North Dakota; Williams County State’s Attorney; and area law enforcement agencies

Funded by: Office on Violence Against Women Rural Grant Program

PDF icon Full report

Aroostook County, Maine (2012)

Project Title: Domestic Violence Best Practice Assessment: Police Response to Domestic Violence

Lead Organization(s): Coordinated by Hope and Justice Project, Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office, Maine State Police, Presque Isle Police Department

Discipline of Team Members: St. John Valley Advocacy Coordinator; Family Violence Program Coordinator; Deputy District Attorney; Domestic Violence Detective; Director of Hope and Justice Project; Criminal Justice Advocate; Main State Police Trooper; Deputy Chief, Presque Isle Police Department; Patrol Officer, Presque Isle Police Department

Funded by: Office on Violence Against Women Rural Grant Program

PDF icon Full report

As a result of conducting the Praxis Domestic Violence Best Practice Assessment, communities have developed and implemented a range of enhancements to their response to domestic violence, including:

training on new follow-up questions for 911 operators to ask related to risk, strangulation, and whether children are present
improving consistency in risk assessment in patrol response
creating and implementing a domestic violence-specific incident report for patrol
establishing an advocacy-initiated response
developing a state-certified training for patrol officers on responding to domestic violence
creating new domestic violence investigator positions 

Praxis has supported many communities in utilizing the Best Practice Assessment to advance their response to battering. We are available to assist you. We can work with you to explore how the Praxis Domestic Violence Best Practice Assessment could work in your community and/or to strategize and tailor the process to your local jurisdiction and circumstances. Please email us for more information and support:

Resources to Learn More
To learn more, read any of the reports linked above and/or go to our webpage focused on the Domestic Violence Best Practice Assessment Guides. Specific resources are highlighted below:

 Upcoming Rural and Related Training Events 

OVW’s National Technical Assistance Provider Training Events Calendar
Use this website to peruse the training and support available to you as an OVW grantee.

 Upcoming Training

 Uniquely Rural Resources, Approaches, and Information

Learn about ways rural communities are working to end violence against women and are employing strategies to address related issues:

OVW Tribal Consultation 2017 Annual Report
Rural Approaches

New Rural Research and Resources

This project is supported by Grant No. 2015-TA-AX-K057 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions and recommendations expressed in this document are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Justice.

[November 2018]