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Training and Events
We offer a number of ways for grantees to connect with experts in the field, to learn from each other, and to be exposed to some of the best materials in the field of domestic violence intervention. Check this page frequently for information related to upcoming events.

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2015 Community Assessment Institute
Webinar training on general institutional analysis topics
Webinar series on the Domestic Violence Best Practice Assessment Guides

4-day annual training institutes for local teams to be immersed in the full range of tools and methods involved in community assessments as outlined by the Praxis Safety and Accountability Audit


Community Assessment Institute
May 12 - 15, 2015, Saint Paul, MN

Drawing from The Institutional Analysis (formerly The Praxis Safety and Accountability Audit), this training teaches the practical methods, skills, and strategies to coordinate and implement an assessment of your community's response to violence against women. Community assessment is an inter-agency team process that identifies ways to incorporate safety and well-being for survivors and accountability for offenders into the daily routines and practices of workers who intervene in cases involving violence against women. Grounded in the experiences of survivors, this process seeks to 1) identify how problematic interventions and negative systemic outcomes arise, and 2) develop and implement recommendations for long-lasting system reform.

Institute participants will learn how to: 

  • Determine the scope of your assessment given local resources
  • Utilize the basic elements of an assessment in your OVW-funded project and adjust for the politics of your community
  • Analyze different types of text that impact outcomes for victims (reports, forms, policies, recommendations, transcripts, etc.)
  • Conduct effective, engaging and informative interviews with key interveners 
  • Get the most out of an observation of practitioners' work (such as 911 dispatchers, law enforcement officers, etc.)
  • Conduct focus groups to glean insider knowledge and insights
  • Facilitate interagency team meetings and data analysis sessions
  • Draw conclusions from the information collected and translate it into new policies, procedures, training strategies, resource allocations, supervisory and oversight practices, linkages, and job functions that improve outcomes for victims

Who should attend?

Communities who are interested in learning more and those who are planning to conduct a community assessment or best practice assessment are strongly encouraged to send 2 people to this intensive institute: 1) an individual responsible for coordination of an assessment, and 2) a key member of the interagency team charged with implementing the assessment. Requests to send more than 2 participants per community will be considered only if space is available.

OVW grantees must receive prior approval from your OVW Program Specialist to attend this institute. 

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What past participants have said about the institute
  • This brings to the forefront on my thinking the linkages between disciplines and within agencies. If we are not in relationship, we fail victims and our communities. I liked the interactive group work the best - it kept me engaged and my mind active. I also enjoyed the opportunity to experience local law enforcement and sits along with dispatch.
  • The seamless weaving of different learning modalities - and how it mirrors the process of an actual community assessment.
  • I'm excited about all the ways we might apply this assessment/these tools in our community the hands on exercises were great in understanding the application of the analysis process
  • The array of presenters was awesome as they brought their expertise and experience to share  the training incorporated theory, framework, instruction, demonstration, application, and process; very informative.

Receive quality training on institutional analysis and community assessments over the internet.

Webinar connection and call-in information will be sent with registration confirmation. If you do not receive confirmation withing a few minutes of registering, check your Spam folder. Contact if you need assistance.

Long distance charges to participate can be paid with OVW set-aside training funds.

1st Tuesday of each month. All sessions are from 2:00 - 3:15 pm Central Time.

April 7

The Audit Coordinator and The Team: Roles, Skills, and Responsibilities

A strong coordinator and a strong team are crucial to successfully implement a Safety and Accountability Audit or Community Assessment process. The coordinator is the mortar that holds the entire process together, the glue for the team and the agencies involved in the assessment. The audit team, made up of representatives from the response being analyzed as well as representatives from related points of intervention, engages in data collection and analysis and collectively develops the gap statements and recommendations for changes to the system’s response. These individuals each need a set of qualities and skills to contribute to the greatest potential of the community’s engagement in the Audit. This webinar will provide an overview of the key roles, qualities, skills, and responsibilities for audit team members.

Facilitated by: Lucy Pope, Praxis consultant
Presenters: Rhonda Martinson, Praxis consultant and Maren Woods, Praxis Program Manager

Register now
PDF IconPowerPoint

June 2

What does it mean that the audit is “grounded in the lived experiences of survivors”?

"Audits" are typically thought of as an external review process, typically conducted by one or two individuals, that assesses the adherence to existing policies and practices within a particular agency. A Safety and Accountability Audit is quite different. It involves an interagency group of practitioners, including those representing the agency being audited, and community-based advocates. But a more important feature of the Safety and Accountability Audit is the point of view of the inquiry: that of the lived experiences of survivors of violence against women. Every aspect of the Safety and Accountability Audit is designed to help the team create a dynamic, 3-D map to understand how survivors experience our interventions and how our systems are organized to represent her experience. This webinar will help audit team members and coordinators to maintain a vigilant focus on the survivor’s experience: from forming the “audit question” to focus groups with survivors to review of key agency records (such as police reports) to data analysis.

Facilitated by: Lucy Pope, Praxis consultant
Presenters: Jane Sadusky, Praxis consultant; Kristen Weber, Center for the Study of Social Policy; and Maren Woods, Praxis Program Manager

Register now

October 6
Using Community Assessment in Tribal Communities

In early 2013, the United Southeastern Tribes (USET) received a grant to conduct Safety and Accountability Audits of the community response to domestic violence in two affiliated tribes: the Eastern Band of Cherokee in Cherokee, North Carolina and the Jena Band of Choctaw in Jena, Louisiana. Because of the small size of the tribe and the lack of a formal institutional response to domestic violence, the Jena Band of Choctaw Audit Team decided to center their assessment process on the tribal members as the institution, examining the tribe’s attitudes toward domestic violence and existing effective sources of help for individuals affected by this violence. This webinar will highlight the key strategies the Jena Band of Choctaw Audit Team employed for conducting a Safety and Accountability Audit in the very close knit Tribal community.

Facilitated by: Maren Woods, Praxis Program Manager
Presenters: Denise Eng, Praxis Program Manager and Jeremy NeVilles-Sorell, Mending the Sacred Hoop

Register now


After over 30+ years of organizing, assessing, monitoring, and researching 911 through prosecution response to cases involving battering, we know a lot about what works and what does not work to help keep victims safe and to hold offenders accountable. The tools outlined in the Domestic Violence Best Practice Assessment Guides distill this accumulated knowledge into specific guidelines for practice for 911 responses through prosecution charging decisions. Join us for one or all parts in this series. 

Assessing for Core Practices in Criminal Justice System Response to Domestic Violence

July 7
Part 1: An Introduction to the Domestic Violence Best Practice Assessment Guides

The Domestic Violence Best Practice Assessment Guides detail a process for a community to engage in a review of the 911 through prosecution charging response to domestic violence–related cases using checklists of core practices. These core practices have been identified after working closely with Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) grantees and other communities, particularly those that have established coordinated intervention practices and many that have completed Safety Audits. The process involves a relatively narrow scope, small number of participants and limited data collection. It relies heavily on a guided review of the official records, such as 911 calls and patrol officers’ incident and arrest reports. This webinar will feature the experiences of and key outcomes in two communities that have conducted such Best Practice Assessment processes.

Facilitated by: Maren Woods, Praxis Program Manager
Presenters: Panel of coordinators who have used the best practice assessment guides in their communities

Register now

August 4

Part 2: The Official Record of Violence: Strategies for Case File Review

A key activity detailed in the Domestic Violence Best Practice Assessment Guides is policy and case file review. Case files are a central organizing feature of any agency’s intervention in people’s lives: forms, reports, records, etc. become the permanent record of the actual lived experience. As such, review of case files is a crucial component of any assessment of an agency’s response to violence against women. However, locating text, securing agreements, addressing confidentiality issues, can sometimes pose obstacles for communities interested in engaging in the Best Practice Assessment process. This webinar will cover strategies that communities have employed and tools available for paving the path to successful case file access and review.

Facilitated by: Maren Woods, Praxis Program Manager
Presenters: Rhonda Martinson, Praxis consultant

Register now

September 1
Part 3: Using the BPA Guides to Analyze Prosecution Response to Battering

The Domestic Violence Best Practice Assessment Guides outline a process that creates a to-do list of system reform. At the same time, working relationships are enhanced, team members explore in-depth what one agency needs from another, and an inter-agency process is learned that can be used to assess any point of intervention. This webinar will feature the successful application of the best practice assessment in a suburban jurisdiction with a long-standing coordinated community responses (CCRs).

Facilitated by: Maren Woods, Praxis Program Manager
Presenters: Wynn Curtiss, Prosecutor and Judi Nelson, Sojourner Project

Register now

Contact Maren to learn more: 651-699-8000, x10 with questions about how to incorporate this process into your next OVW grant application.

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