The Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, with funding from Women and Gender Equality Canada, and in partnership with agencies across Canada, researchers and survivors of violence, is developing promising practices, frameworks and resources for gender-based violence risk identification and assessment.  

The project builds a blueprint for risk assessment and safety frameworks that is founded on a trauma-informed approach and the consideration of intersecting identity factors for Indigenous women, Black women, racialized women, immigrant and refugee women, women with precarious immigration status, women with disabilities, LGTBQ2S+ and gender-diverse survivors who are more at risk of GBV. 

The Clinic will host a series of consultations with GBV service providers across Canada. Stay tuned for more information and dates.

If you want to participate or hear more about this project contact Patricia Coelho, Project Coordinator 

Join us in a panel discussion on current risk assessment and safety management approaches.

Guiding Systemic Response flyer image

Main Goals of the Project: 

  • Identify current practices in risk assessment, risk mitigation and safety planning for survivors of gender-based violence; 
  • Identify gaps in risk assessment, risk mitigation and safety planning for survivors of gender-based violence; 
  • Create and test promising practices in risk assessment, risk mitigation and safety planning for survivors of violence available for free in English and French;  
  • Generate evidence that demonstrates the efficiency and effectiveness of promising practices; 
  • Develop Blueprints and make them available for other organizations to replicate and adapt to their local context;
  • Develop and deliver in-person and online training of the project’s main findings and deliverables with multimedia training modules in both English and French.

Tools and resources aim to do the following:

  • Account for physical, emotional, mental, social/cultural, financial, legal and spiritual abuse while taking into consideration the context of coercive control and power dynamics in which specific incidents or manifestations of violence may occur; 
  • Account for the multiple sources of oppression and systemic barriers women experience through an intersectional analysis; 
  • Assess and manage risk from the perspective of at-risk women/survivors’ lived experiences; 
  • Assess outcomes from the perspective of at-risk women/survivors’ lived experiences.

Project main activities by category: 

Research and Investigation:  Conduct fundamental and comprehensive research and investigation.  Create interim research and findings reports, final research papers, and recommendation reports based on literature review and  nationwide identification and revision of similar projects/initiatives. 

Consultations: Create an advisory committee, engage with experts in the field, develop and maintain partnerships with GBV agencies across Canada.  Create a community engagement committee reflecting the survivors’ intersectionality and experiences of violence that will provide feedback on the blueprints’ development and implementation. Conduct effective consultations with GBV service providers across Canada and survivors of GBV. 

 Public engagement and project administration: Maintain continuous public engagement through social media and other outlets; speaking engagements and public education; ongoing project reporting & evaluation, and other project administration documents. 

Blueprints design: Create recommendation reports, implementation reports, other implementation outputs, and final blueprints from both the provincial pilot and the national implementation. 

Testing and evaluation: Create blueprints of the tools and resources, including two preparatory stages for the blueprints and related consultations.  

Implementation & dissemination:  Create, advertise and deliver training sessions to inform agencies and the public about the project findings and deliverables

Project principles

In building and implementing tools and resources for risk assessment, risk mitigation and safety planning, this project is guided by the following principles: 

  • Survivor-centered
    In all aspects of this project, from its development to implementation to evaluation, this project will focus on the experiences of at-risk women/survivors in a respectful and empowering manner.  The project will identify and explore existing gaps and construct risk assessment processes and protocols that are survivor-centric, strength-based, and focused on women’s lived experiences. 
  • Intersectional
    Intersectionality is paramount to the main objectives of the project. The project team shall use an intersectional analysis in all stages of the project and seek to ascertain how one’s social identity can impact experiences of gender-based violence and risk factors, including barriers to receiving services and finding safety.

  • Trauma-informed
    The trauma-informed approach accounts for the lasting effects of trauma on survivors and ensures that services, resources and information are provided in such a way as to avoid re-traumatization. The project team will foster a trauma-informed approach while encouraging empowerment, confidence and safety for gender-based violence survivors. 

  • Anti-oppressive
    The project team will continuously reflect on power relations in all stages of the project, including an understanding and self-reflection of the team’s power and privilege while leading this initiative. The project team, when appropriate,  will invite project participants to reflect on the relationship of power and oppression in our society while acknowledging that aspects of class, race, gender, disability, and sexual orientation can magnify experiences of GBV and increase risk factors for future harm.