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Praxis International

Praxis International, Inc. is a nonprofit research and training organization that works toward the elimination of violence in the lives of women and children. We work with local, statewide, and national reform initiatives to bridge the gap between what people need and what institutions provide. Since 1996, we have worked with advocacy organizations, intervention agencies, and inter-agency collaborations to create a clear and cooperative agenda for social change in their communities.


Shelby County/Memphis, Tennessee Adopts Blueprint for Safety 

Office on Violence Against Women demonstration site adopts policy to strengthen long-standing coordinated community response

"Thank you to Bea Hanson from the Department of Justice. We appreciate so much the fine work that the Blueprint has facilitated here in Shelby County. We have 8000 domestic violence cases in our area annually and the Blueprint helps us differentiate the cases of elevated risk and work collectively with all of the service providers to focus on the victims of these crimes."  
Mark H. Luttrell, Jr., Mayor of Shelby County

Launch speakers: Bill Oldham, Shelby County Sheriff; Edward L. Stanton, III, U.S. Attorney;
Amy Weirich, District Attorney General; Olliette Murry-Drobot, Family Safety Center Director;
Mark H. Luttrell, Jr., Mayor of Shelby County; A.C.Wharton, Jr., Mayor of Memphis;
Mike Ryall, Deputy Chief of Memphis Police Department; Lia Roemer, YWCA/Blueprint Coordinator;
and Kevin Reed, Judicial Commissioner.

On Thursday, February 19, 2015, the Shelby County Tennessee Mayor and City of Memphis Mayor joined county and city criminal justice agencies in announcing the adoption of their new collective Blueprint for Safety policy to enhance their response to domestic violence cases. Watch a news clip on this announcement.

Shelby County joins the cities of New Orleans and Duluth as the final of three national demonstration sites who have now adapted the successful St. Paul Blueprint for Safety. In 2011, these sites were selected as national sites for the Blueprint for Safety Adaptation Demonstration Initiative, a project of the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice, in partnership with Praxis International. 

The Blueprint is a fully articulated plan for the coordination of the justice system response to domestic violence crimes, enhancing its capacity to stop violence, reduce harm and save lives. Read more... 

                                                            

Left to right: Lia Roemer, YWCA/Blueprint Coordinator; Bea Hanson, Principal Deputy Director, Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice; Denise Eng, Praxis International; Kevin Sweeney and Paula Tessier, OVW; Kristine Lizdas, Battered Women's Justice Project; and Martha Lott, Shelby County Community Services.

Excerpts of comments by Bea Hanson, Principal Deputy Director, Office on Violence Against Women:


"Thank you to all of you for your leadership and commitment to ending violence against women. You are a shining example for the rest of the nation of what one community can do. 

"As part of the demonstration initiative, Shelby County is on the leading edge of adapting a truly comprehensive interagency criminal justice response to violence against women. This isn't easy to do. The Blueprint is an approach to domestic violence cases that coordinates agency responses around the shared goals of safety and justice, and closes the gaps between what victims of violence need and the ways the CJS is currently responding.

"The whole point of the Blueprint is to create this interagency response - from 911 to law enforcement to prosecution to parole - all working together to make sure we are keeping victims safe and holding offenders accountable. And this also incorporates the work of nonprofit victim service organizations. This coordination is really what is key to making huge inroads in the struggle against domestic violence. 

"No one of us can do it ourselves - law enforcement can't do it alone - prosecution can't do it alone - victim services can't do it alone. Its that coordination of us doing it together. While all of our jobs is to create safety, we do it from different vantage points. These different vantage points, all brought together, can be what it takes to really protect victims."

In Shelby County, practitioners engaged in a three-year process of examining policies, observing practitioners at work, analyzing agency practices and forms, and conducting focus groups with battered women to create new practices. 

Some of the key agencies changes:

911:

Law Enforcement:

Memphis Police Department & Shelby County Sheriff's Office Emergency Communications

  • Reinforce with callers that 911 is always available
  • More detailed information provided to patrol
  • Ask callers more questions about weapons, history and risk

Memphis Police Department & Shelby County Sheriff's Office Emergency Communications

  • More evidence collection by patrol at the scene 
  • Better guidance on assessing for self-defense and primary aggressor 
  • Ask additional questions to establish level of risk and danger
  • Enhanced report writing

Jail, Warrants and Court Security:

Prosecution:

Shelby County Sheriff's Office

  • Block victim's phone number to prevent intimidation by the offender
  • Specialized unit dedicated to apprehension of domestic violence offender
  • Intervene when domestic violence offenders intimidate victims in court

Shelby County District Attorney General's Office

  • Strengthen engagement with victims
  • Adjust the response when the defendant is a victim of ongoing violence
  • Prepare cases cognizant of the possibility that the victim will not testify 

Victim Services: 

Pretrial Services & Probation

  • Prioritize early contact with victims, as soon as possible after arrest
  • Strengthen partnerships with community advocates to meet need of victims 
  • Be alert to victim intimidation in court and secure assistance 
  • Greater emphasis on contact victims
  • Strengthen assessment of risk and danger
  • Swift consequences for violations of conditions of release or probation violations

General Sessions Division 10: Domestic Violence Court

  • Allow prosecutors to present relevant information about severity and risk
  • Consider the issuance of no-contact orders individually
  • Establish a courtroom atmosphere that supports victim safety and offender accountability 
Praxis, in partnership with the Battered Women's Justice Project and Saint Paul Blueprint practitioners, provides technical assistance to the Blueprint Demonstration Sites as they adapt and implement their Blueprints.




City of Duluth Adopts Blueprint for Safety 

Office on Violence Against Women demonstration site adopts policy to strengthen long-standing coordinated community response

"Congratulations to Duluth for being such leaders and visionaries in addressing domestic violence, nationally and internationally. The whole idea of the Blueprint is an approach that looks at where we have gaps - from 911 through law enforcement, prosecution and corrections - and to identify what we need to address to make sure we have safer communities. In communities with long-standing coordinated community responses, like Duluth, the Blueprint focuses even more specifically on where those gaps are." 

- Bea Hanson, Principal Deputy Director, Office on Violence Against Women

 

 TaraScottBeaMary        DulBPCoverSmall

Left to right: Tara Haynes, Scott Miller, Blueprint Co-coordinators; Bea Hanson, Principal Deputy Director, Office on Violence Against Women; Mary Asmus, Assistant City Attorney/Blueprint Project Leader

On Thursday, January 29, 2015, the Duluth mayor's office and 6 criminal justice agencies announced the adoption of The Blueprint for Safety to strengthen the city's Duluth Model coordinated community response to domestic violence cases. 

Duluth joins the City of New Orleans as the second of three national demonstration sites who have now adapted the successful St. Paul Blueprint for Safety. In 2011, these cities and Shelby County/Memphis, TN, were selected as national sites for the Blueprint for Safety Adaptation Demonstration Initiative, a project of the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice, in partnership with Praxis International. Watch the Northland News Center's coverage

The Blueprint is a fully articulated plan for the coordination of the justice system response to domestic violence crimes, enhancing its capacity to stop violence, reduce harm and save lives. Read more... 

"The Blueprint's attention to risk is what moved our CCR to another level. Risk is a big topic around the country; people are all trying to figure out how you collect it, what you do with it, but what you find lots of times is an agency will collect this information but never use it. Or take 3 risk tools and combine them...with an outcome that is not always relevant to what was intended. The Blueprint takes all this research, tells you how to collect, transfer and use that risk information, from 911 to probation. Its the first real project that has a multi-agency design on how to utilize risk. Our [CCR] is absolutely better from the Blueprint work we've been doing."  Scott Miller, Blueprint Co-coordinator, Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs

 DuluthBPPractitioners

Duluth practitioners who worked to develop new Blueprint policies and practices.

In a community like Duluth, with a long-standing coordinated response, the Blueprint for Safety can strengthen domestic violence intervention practices. The Duluth Blueprint put into one collective policy the effective practices that were created here over the years, but also enhanced intervention practices. 

Key agencies changes:

911:

Law Enforcement:

St. Louis County Emergency Communications

  • Keeping the caller on the line when it's safe to do so.
  • Checking on previous calls involving the same parties or address.
  • Treating domestic assault calls as priority one calls.
  • Reinforcing that 911 is available regardless of how many times he/she has called.

 Duluth Police Department

  • House a Domestic Violence Response Team of investigators, probation agents, advocates.
  • Protections for juveniles who commit acts of violence against a parent or caregiver.
  • Additional risk questions on intimidation and stalking.
  • Increased emphasis on locating and apprehending suspects gone on arrival. 

Jail, Warrants and Court Security:

Prosecution:

St. Louis County Sheriff's Office 

  • Response to witness intimidation in courts.
    Victims can request to have phone numbers blocked so inmates can't contact them. 
  • Domestic warrants are a high priority and deputies work with tips on suspects whereabouts to execute warrants. 

Duluth City Attorney's Office

  • Risk analysis to improve arraignment and sentencing recommendations for high risk offenders.
  • Model policy for responding to victims who fight back in relationships where they are battered.
  • Work with courthouse security to prosecute witness intimidation cases. 

Prosecution:

Victim Services:

St. Louis County Attorney's Office

  • Specialized unit dedicated to prosecution of domestic violence offenders. 
  • Use of expert witnesses to educate juries to understand victims of battering.
  • Training with law enforcement and prosecutors on the best practices involving investigating and prosecuting domestic violence cases. 

 St. Louis County Attorney's Office

  • Strengthened relationships with community advocates on domestic assault cases.
  • Prioritize contact with victims of domestic assault after an arrest.

Pretrial and Probation:
Arrowhead Regional Corrections, Duluth Office

  • Created specialized unit to supervise domestic violence offenders.
  • Intensive supervision of high risk offenders; conducting random field checks for compliance to court conditions that include sobriety checks.
  • Improved contact and relationships with victims. 
In Duluth, practitioners engaged in a three-year process of examining policies, observing practitioners at work, analyzing agency practices and forms, and conducting focus groups with battered women to create these new practices. Praxis, in partnership with the Battered Women's Justice Project and Saint Paul Blueprint practitioners, provides technical assistance to the Blueprint Demonstration Sites as they adapt and implement their Blueprints.

Read about the New Orleans Blueprint launch

Learn more about how to become a Blueprint community


Download the Blueprint for Safety


Praxis provides technical assistance to communities wanting to adapt the Blueprint to their jurisdictions.
Call 218-525-0487, x 251 or email
blueprint@praxisinternational.org





Advocacy Learning Center

Application for Classes L & M is closed.

Class L begins June 2015, Class M, August 2015.
[more]




Classes I, J and K are currently engaged in this 18-month, interactive course. Thus far, 506 advocates and 192 advocacy groups across the country have completed or started the course since 2009. See who

What advocates are saying:

"Brilliant. Inspiring. I can see how this course has a huge, long-lasting value, and is so incredibly important to our movement."

"I am a stronger advocate just in the short time I have been involved."

"It will be a very, very long time before I have an experience like this again."

"We are forever changed."



What advocates say about the Advocacy Learning Center –
a project of Praxis International and Manavi in partnership with the Office on Violence Against Women




Thank you for supporting Praxis International on Give to the Max day! 

Your donation will help to build strong advocacy programs for women/survivors and change the way the criminal justice system responds to violence against women. We are so grateful for your support.



Institutional Analysis/Community Assessment  Safety Audit graphic

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. Read more

Please contact Maren Woods, Program Manager, 651-699-8000 x 10 or email maren@praxisinternational.org, if you have questions.

Institutional Analysis in the news:

Missoula starts sexual assault response safety, accountability audit
http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/city-starts-sexual-assault-response-safety-accountability-audit/26196136

Missoula officials look for gaps in rape investigations
http://www.kpax.com/news/missoula-officials-look-for-gaps-in-rape-investigation

Missoula officials announce accountability audit for sexual assault investigations
http://missoulian.com/news/local/missoula-officials-announce-accountability-audit-for-sexual-assault-investigations/article_e7ab85ce-e615-11e3-b0ae-0019bb2963f4.html


Blueprint for Safety logoBlueprint for Safety

The Blueprint for Safety is a prototype that can be used by any community hoping to link its criminal justice agencies together in a coherent, philosophically sound domestic violence intervention model. Read more


Download for free or purchase a printed copy of the Blueprint for Safety: An Interagency Response to Domestic Violence Crimes.

Please contact Denise Eng, Praxis International: 651-699-8000, ext. 17 or denise@praxisinternational.org if you have questions.

Articles related to the Blueprint:


Minnesota sees an outbreak of domestic violence
http://www.startribune.com/opinion/editorials/226530621.html

St. Paul has new Blueprint for tackling domestic violence

http://www.startribune.com/local/stpaul/89744832.html

St. Paul preps 'Blueprint' for better domestic violence response
http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2010/04/01/domestic-abuse-blueprint/




Safety Audit graphicPlanning and Conducting a Best-Practice Assessment of Community Response to Domestic Violence

Two new Best Practice Assessment Tools are available for communities who want to use the lessons learned from CCR efforts and Safety Audits to examine their system's response to battering. The assessment tools will help you analyze your community's response. Read more




weed logo with wordsPraxis International News, Vol. 1

The January 2014 edition is available. Read more





The Story of Rachel cover imageThe Story of Rachel

The Story of Rachel is now available with open captioning. This dramatic 4-minute training tool depicts the events set in motion by one battered woman' s call to 911: from the criminal court case, to the child protection investigation, to a protection-order petition, to a visitation center visit, to her ultimate eviction. It is a powerful illustration of the complex relationship between battered women and the systems they turn to for help. Order a copy

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