Quick Exit
Quick ExitQuick Exit

Enhancing Women-Centered Practice using Assessment Tools

Blueprint Project Update – March 2022

Enhancing Women-Centered Practice using Assessment Tools with Survivors of Domestic Violence 

A critical component of the Blueprint Project is the development and implementation of valid and reliable assessment tools and protocols amongst the various agencies to support the safety of those living with or fleeing domestic violence. The three initial assessment tools used within the Blueprint Project are the Danger Assessment Tool (DA), the Measurement of Service Acuity Indicators and Complexities (MOSAIC) and the Goal Attainment Scale. The Communities of Practice & Community Working Groups will collaboratively identify improvements to the assessment tools and case management protocols based on evidence produced through data collection and analysis.  Throughout the Project, additional assessment tools and protocols may be identified and implemented.

The DA tool was originally developed in 1985 to empower women at risk with information that reduced the likelihood of further exposure to her risk of femicide. It consists of a Calendar to assist in recall and 20 weighted questions designed to measure risk in an abusive relationship. The DA is a validated method of assessing a woman’s risk of being killed by a current or former partner. It is a powerful process of inquiry that helps women stay safer by identifying risk factors, reducing minimization and denial of danger, and building supportive relationships with helpers. There are multiple iterations of the DA, including the DA, DA-I for Immigrant Women, DA-R (revised) for same-sex female relationships and Walking the Path Together for Indigenous Women.

The ACWS MOSAIC (formerly known as the Acuity Scale) was developed over several years of applied research in the domestic violence shelter system and through the collaboration between the shelters and ACWS. The MOSAIC works with information routinely collected by shelters to quantify complexity of women’s needs from a gender and violence-based perspective. Acuity is defined as the measurement of intensity of supports needed to address complexity of individual’s circumstances. The scale incorporates acuity indicators associated with violence risk levels, parenting stress levels, poverty-related issues, the presence or absence of addictions, mental health problems, and/or physical health problems, and housing, financial, legal and social support issues.

The Goal Attainment is one scale that can measure a women’s progress while a resident at second stage shelters. Women are encouraged and supported to decide which problems they want to address and how they want to address them. The initial assessment involves conceptualization of the problems a woman identifies, collaborative goal definition and an agreed upon plan of action to begin to work towards achieving the identified goals. Goal setting provides a solid foundation for the focus of work with each individual woman. The action plan provides guidance for the woman to take small steps towards achieving her goals.


Back to the Blueprint Project page.