Blueprint for Safety
The Blueprint for Safety, originally developed and implemented in Saint Paul, MN, 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. If you would like to speak with someone about how to become a Blueprint community, or would like more information on The Blueprint, email email@example.com.
In 2007 the Minnesota Legislature awarded a grant to the of Saint Paul to write a comprehensive plan integrating the knowledge gleaned from thirty years of local and national research, demonstration projects, and practice into a “blueprint” for city and county agencies responding to misdemeanor and felony assaults. The Blueprint was created with the leadership of seven agencies and the district court bench in the City of Saint Paul, as well as through conversations and consultation with community members, advocates, researchers, and experts confronting this crime both locally and nationally.
The Blueprint for Safety is written as a single document with a chapter for each agency within the criminal justice system. It is not a collection of good policies; it is a collective policy with each chapter linked inextricably to the whole. It uses interagency policies, protocols, case processing procedures, and information sharing to: (a) maximize the ability of the state to gain a measure of control over a domestic violence offender; (b) use that control to intervene quickly when there are new acts of violence, intimidation or coercion; and (c) shift the burden of holding the offender accountable for violence or abuse from the victim to the system.
John Harrington, Former Chief of the Saint Paul Police Department, and John Choi, Former Saint Paul City Attorney, say “the Blueprint envisions a response that holds that every victim is worth fighting for and every abuser must be held to account.” Former Chief Harrington has extensive law enforcement experience responding to domestic violence:
So, what’s different about the Blueprint? Again, Former Chief Harrington:
The Blueprint is anchored in six foundational principles that we have identified as essential characteristics of intervention that maximize safety for victims of domestic violence and hold offenders accountable while offering them opportunities to change. The foundational principles are:
1. Adhere to an interagency approach and collective intervention goals
2. Build attention to the context and severity of abuse into each intervention
3. Recognize that most domestic violence is a patterned crime requiring continuing engagement with victims and offenders
4. Establish sure and swift consequences for continued abuse
5. Use the power of the criminal justice system to send messages of help and accountability
6. Act in ways that reduce unintended consequences and the disparity of impact on victims and offenders
There are two versions of The Blueprint; one specifically for the City of Saint Paul, and the other for communities across the country to use as a template or guide to create their own customized version. For more on the documents, click here.
If you would like to speak with someone about how to become a Blueprint community, or would like more information on The Blueprint, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Blueprint in the news:
Official launch of the Saint Paul Blueprint, April 2, 2010
Saint Paul has new Blueprint for tackling domestic violence, April 1, 2010
Saint Paul preps 'Blueprint' for better domestic violence response, April 1, 2010
Editorial: Take steps to curb domestic abuse, October 11, 2009
Violence Effort Nears Finish, March 24, 2012