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Protocol Development and Training CD–ROM—Canada

In 1999, the Halton, Canada, Sexual and Domestic Violence Collaborative (formerly known as the Sexual and Wife Assault Project) agreed that the community needed to develop a comprehensive response protocol to address sexual and domestic assault. The intent of the protocol is to provide all victims of sexual assault and domestic violence with a consistent, knowledgeable, and compassionate response from any agency in Halton.

The Halton Sexual and Domestic Violence Collaborative will provide agencies with training to educate multidisciplinary staff on the "best practices" approach to implementing the response protocol. As a result, service providers will—

  • Understand clearly the role of each agency and service in responding to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.
  • Be better able to meet the diverse needs of the victims by providing a responsive, sensitive approach based on best practices.
  • Have an increased appreciation for the services that are offered outside their own sector and a better understanding of  the big picture in the Halton region.
  • Have a clear understanding of the beliefs and principles of the protocol, as well as options available to survivors.

Making the Idea a Reality
The collaborative held community forums through which it developed the protocols and, in spring 2002, officially launched the Halton Community Response Protocols for Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. The launch included an official signing ceremony and cross-disciplinary training for frontline service providers on how to use the protocols.

Following the launch, a multidisciplinary training CD-ROM was created as a cost-effective way to educate service providers about the roles each organization has in responding to victims. The CD–ROM's purpose is to enhance communication, strengthen working relationships, and alleviate historical barriers.

The CD–ROM training tool includes information on the collaborative committee's beliefs and principles, flow sheets of system access, video scenes depicting four victim scenarios, a self-assessment checklist for service providers, agency protocols, a brochure, supplemental resources, and Web site links. A printed copy of the protocol is available online.

Benefits to Victims

  • Provides victims with referral information for community services.
  • Reduces the risk for any victim of "falling through the cracks."
  • Allows for feedback directly from victims to the service providers.
  • Maintains service providers' accountability to the victims they serve and increases responsiveness.
  • Alleviates barriers to service and historical misunderstandings.
  • Enhances the quality of service provision.

Benefits to Victim Service Providers

  • Fosters open communication and enhances working relationships.
  • Increases informal problem solving with less adversarial approaches among interagency service providers.
  • Encourages everyone to keep the big picture in mind.
  • Generates coordinated advocacy efforts.
  • Builds interagency relationships.
  • Promotes a best practice approach to victims and moves agencies beyond what they are doing to what they should or could be doing.
  • Educates agencies and the community at large on the issue of sexual assault.
  • Serves as a quality-control mechanism for the services delivered.

Evaluation Efforts
The evaluation of this project is still in progress; however, there has been very positive anecdotal feedback on the use of the training CD–ROM.

Lessons Learned
Some lessons learned include the need for ongoing communication among the agencies to encourage using the CD–ROM to orient new staff.

Availability of appropriate technology must also be considered, as a couple of the agencies did not have the computer technology to access the video component of the CD–ROM.

The next step will be distributing the tool and pamphlet to other providers who potentially could be responding to victims (e.g., school counselors, physicians).

Contact Information
Halton Region Health Department
Linda Graydon
5353 Lakeshore Rd., Unit 2
Burlington, ON L7L 1C8
905–825–6000, ext. 4563