House of Ruth Maryland is leading the way to identifying how to measure best practices in working with victims of intimate partner violence.
Measuring Success Outcomes Model
Many service providers express interest in a good system of measurement because they face increasing pressure from local and national funding sources to provide data-driven and evidence-based services. Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) service providers see the value in a shared vocabulary and definition of what success looks like – it makes communicating across programs more effective; it demonstrates that scarce resources are being used efficiently; and most importantly, it assures providers that the programming designed to help crime victims recover is making a real difference in the lives of those victims and their families.
Equally important is the flexibility for providers to be able to test out new interventions and programming as the needs of populations served shift over time. Evidence based interventions that were tested and validated within one region may not work as well when implemented in another.
Measuring Success: A Model for What Works
In 2012, House of Ruth Maryland (HRM) received private funding from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation to answer the question, “How do you define success?” The goal was to develop standards that could be adopted nationally for evaluating Intimate Partner Violence Programs. Developed over the course of three years, Measuring Success brought together a group of practitioner and academic experts in the field of IPV, reviewed a comprehensive set of literature on IPV outcomes, and focused the work that IPV programs do into three outcomes and ten indicators. Ultimately, the work was presented back to the group of experts in March 2014, who were enthusiastic about the model HRM had developed.
HRM’s theory of change is that survivor safety is dependent on stability and awareness.
Stability includes the ability to meet one’s basic needs, have a supportive social network, and effectively reduce trauma symptoms. Survivors must also be able to intentionally safety plan. Awareness is not only focused on survivors. Survivors must understand what domestic violence is, that it is not healthy, and be aware of resources to provide interventions and safety.
However, unless abusive partners and the community in general also understand what domestic violence is and denounce it, survivors will never truly be safe. Every member of the community must know how to direct survivors and abusive partners to interventions that work to reduce or eliminate violence.
Ten Indicators of Success were developed to achieve these outcomes that reflect key factors that researchers have found to positively impact the safety of women. These indicators were then linked to measures, some of which were internally created and some of which came from externally validated sources, and to interventions provided by HRM with the intent of seeing progress on these indicators. HRM’s theory was that each intervention could be tracked by measures that would demonstrate continuous improvement over time; these measures addressed one of the ten indicators of success; and those indicators had been shown in the literature to in some way link to improvement in either stability or awareness, thus, leading to safety (and therefore, success) for survivors.
Measuring Success Outcomes Model Project: During this two year project, HRM and MSCFV will train 13 comprehensive IPV programs on the Measuring Success Model developed by HRM, facilitating the identification of interventions and strategies currently being used to meet the outcomes. Providers will be assisted in selecting measurement tools that fit the unique interventions they provide. HRM and MSCFV will provide technical assistance so that providers can streamline data collection from IPV victims and create a reporting method that is user friendly and allows providers to analyze data for trends. With meaningful data, IPV providers will be able to identify trends in service needs; use feedback to make programmatic adjustments; and have confidence that those changes will better serve victims of IPV crimes. Participating agencies will receive a stipend for training and implementation of the model.