Quick Exit
Quick ExitQuick Exit

ACWS Announces Breakthrough Information Sharing Agreements Signed in Albertan Communities

February 24, 2022 

Grande Prairie and Red Deer agencies sign; new data collection app connects agencies and provides survivors of violence with wrap-around support 

EDMONTON, AB—The Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) is announcing a significant milestone in a collaborative project that has become known as the Blueprint Project. The signing of Information Sharing Agreements (ISAs) with stakeholder agencies in two Alberta communities—10 in Red Deer and 13 in the Grande Prairie region—marks an important moment in the evolution of client-centered service delivery and support in the province. 

The signing of the agreements is a critical step for a team of agencies to work together to provide wrap-around, trauma-informed services to women and service users experiencing domestic violence and abuse.  Many fatality inquiries and death review committee recommendations have called for better information sharing to save lives. This is one way of getting there. 

With client consent, the agreements provide a way for agencies to collect and share a client’s personal information with each other—to the extent necessary for client support—allowing for a coordinated and collaborative approach, so each agency can focus on providing them their specialized services.  

A new data collection app being tested as part of the project aids a common intake, assessment and support process. This is a shift from a system where a client would have to go from agency to agency, with agencies referring a client based on their own systems, to one that brings services to the client and connects them with the supports they need. 

“Referral based systems are not only repetitive and confusing, they often re-traumatize women who were seeking help. They were asked to tell their story over and over again to various agencies,” said ACWS Executive Director, Jan Reimer. “The information sharing agreements backed by the launch of the app and common assessment tools, supports a process that puts the survivor at the centre.” 

“For years we have heard from community agencies that the biggest barrier to coordinated services supporting survivors is information sharing. They described the lack of information sharing as the biggest boulder in their way. Today, pushing that big boulder aside, the information sharing agreement clears our path and allows us to be fully centred on the client’s needs in a truly collaborative service model” said Ian Wheeliker, CEO of the Central Alberta Outreach Society, one of the Red Deer-based organizations who have signed the agreement. 

Amber Chenard, Second Stage Client Support Worker at Odyssey House and the Lead for the Grande Prairie Community Working Group added, “It is amazing to see so many different agencies come together in our community with a common objective. This diverse network has allowed us to have diverse perspectives and gives me such hope in our community and the work we do.” 

The Blueprint Project will continue over the next year, with the intention of developing a “blueprint” for assessment and ongoing case management, which will be shared with agencies across the province. 


About the Blueprint Project: The Blueprint Project is an action-based research initiative facilitated by the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters and funded by Wage & Gender Equality Canada. Originally titled, Enhancing Women-Centered Practice using Assessment Tools with Survivors of Domestic Violence, the project is now known as the Blueprint Project. Its aim is to develop and implement valid and reliable assessment tools and protocols amongst various agencies to support the safety of those living with or fleeing domestic violence. ACWS’ role is to facilitate and support the community collaborative response, providing training on tools such as the Danger Assessment, the Intimate Partner Violence Acuity Scale, and Goal Attainment.

A key component of the Blueprint Project is the recognition that significant change is needed to address the fact that Indigenous, newcomer and refugee, and 2SLGBTQ+ populations experience systemic barriers while facing disproportionate rates of violence. In addition to the Community Working Groups which are geographically based (such as the Red Deer and Grande Prairie groups), the project is developing Communities of Practice in these three areas, who are also contributing to the Blueprint Project. Communities of Practice are agencies and people who share a concern and who can learn from one another on how to improve systems as they interact. 

For more information on the Blueprint Project and to view a full list of ISA signees, visit https://acws.ca/blueprintproject/ 

About ACWS: The Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters represents 40 sheltering organizations operating more than 50 emergency and second stage shelters for women, their children, and seniors fleeing violence and abuse. The ACWS provides professional development and training, action-based research and increases public awareness of issues related to family violence for the benefit of abused women and their children. http://acws.ca   

 – 30 –  

For further information or to arrange for an interview, please contact:
Olivia Street, Coordinator of Communications and Social Advocacy
olivia.street@acws.ca // 780-566-3091