Building an Inter-Agency Response to Domestic Abuse
The Blueprint for Safety is an effective, comprehensive, coordinated Criminal Justice System response to domestic abuse crimes based on 30 years work and research. It was developed in Minnesota by the Minnesota legislature, the City of Saint Paul, St. Paul Police, Praxis International, Saint Paul Domestic Abuse Intervention Project and other agencies in the city.
The ‘Blueprint for Safety’ is a systems change approach which puts a laser focus on victim safety and perpetrator accountability at every single step in the processing of domestic abuse crimes – changing attitudes, breaking the cycle of domestic abuse, reducing harm and saving lives.
Benefits of the Blueprint Model
- More women/children are kept in their own home
- Increased victim safety and perpetrator accountability
- Reduced level of domestic abuse incidents
- Reduced domestic abuse related homicides.
- Changes in individual behaviour and societal attitudes
- The Blueprint for Safety model uses the power of the Criminal Justice System to change societal attitudes.It is a testament to the effectiveness of the approach that the Domestic abuse emergency calls in St. Paul more than halved from 11,000 to 5,000 between 2009 and 2016.
Video – Blueprint Overview
Video – Blueprint Launch St. Paul
Blueprint for Safety Demonstration Division Co. Clare
Haven Horizons is working closely with the Blueprint team in St. Paul, the Garda National Protective Services Bureau, (Dublin) and Senior Garda management in Co. Clare on the National Blueprint pilot project:
The Blueprint for Safety Demonstration Division (Clare Garda Division)
How does the ‘Blueprint for Safety’ work?
In a Blueprint Demonstration Site there is a strong partnership approach – criminal justice system agencies work positively and proactively with the community-based advocacy services to collectively reflect on and review their practices in a systematic way that provides positive feedback channels. This process allows agencies themselves to identify and address any gaps in their service provision which puts victims at risk or allows perpetrators to act with impunity.
The Blueprint gives meticulous attention to the details of domestic abuse inter-agency case processing – prioritising victim safety and perpetrator accountability at every step in the case. Research shows that when agencies dealing with domestic abuse, do not coordinate their interventions on multiple levels, using sound intervention approaches, tragedy can occur. The Blueprint for Safety provides the framework, a detailed set of plans for developing the strong partnerships needed to establish the policies and procedures and to systematically integrate the checks and balances which facilitate agencies to communicate risk and safety effectively, connect the dots, close the gaps and prevent tragedies occurring.
What distinguishes this project and makes it innovative is that the Blueprint for Safety Demonstration Division focuses on systematically enhancing co-operation, building the capacities of all agencies working in this space to increase their individual and collective impact in preventing, prosecuting and eradicating domestic abuse, by initiating, applying and installing an evidence-based best practice model of systemic collaboration.
The agencies solve the problems together ensuring that they:
- Investigate and document the scope, severity, risk and pattern of abuse and can communicate it from agency to agency in the CJS and in all court proceeding including applications for barring, safety orders and bail hearings.
- All agencies co-operate to build an evidence based case that reduces the onus on the victim in court
- The CJS holds perpetrators accountable for domestic violence, breaking orders and any attempt to intimidate the victim
- That victims are fully supported and informed at all stages of the process