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Procedures, Practice & Protocols

Our repository includes 41 examples of procedures, practices and/or protocols (3Ps) that settlement and anti-violence organizations have shared publicly. We used a broad definition of 3Ps in our search, however, we paid particular attention to 3Ps for safety planning and risk assessment as key tools that our partners identified as important for this project. Many of the training (Section 4) documents in our repository also include information about 3Ps as part of the training. Likewise, GBV strategy documents (Section 3) we collected also often include examples of 3Ps.

These are the selected resources found in the Environmental Scan that may be useful to service providers, refugee sponsors and other community members. 

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● The landscape of 3Ps is vast: Most of the 3Ps that we have discovered so far focus on micro-level, individual interactions with survivors of GBV, including:
- How to recognize the signs of GBV: identifying signs, understanding different forms or patterns, assessing risk.

- How to respond in the moment: when someone discloses, when you suspect, and/or when an incident occurs in your workplace


- How to respond in the provision of services: when and how to make referrals, safety-planning, when and how to report and to whom by law and/or by professional ethics.

- How not to respond: self-awareness one’s own biases (sexism, racism, internalized beliefs etc), how to not re-victimize or re-traumatize, how to avoid risking the safety of the survivor, yourself or others, how to avoid exposing them to other forms of violence including state/police/immigration violence.

● There are a range of 3P tools for different contexts and issues: For example, there are a number of specialized tools for different types of users e.g. first responders, bystanders, refugee assistance program workers, family court workers (in progress) etc. There are also a range of forms of violence that 3Ps are addressing e.g. sexual assault, IPV or domestic violence, family violence etc. And there have been many advances in specific tools for risk assessment and safety-planning including culturally-safe approaches.

● Most 3Ps focus on interactions with survivors: There are fewer 3Ps covering interactions with potential perpetrators of GBV, although we did find some tools on de-escalating/safety when interacting with potential perpetrators as well as strategies for engaging men and boys as allies.


● Most 3Ps focus on improving individual interactions rather than organizational-level change or societal-level change: There are fewer protocols for organizations (rather than individuals). This might be because we only have access to publicly available data at this stage. We did find some discussion of protocols for interacting with police, immigration, child protection services etc. (e.g. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell or Sanctuary protocols, as well as child protection protocols). To date we have not found any 3Ps on how organizations can introduce and sustain a GBA+ trauma-informed approach at the organizational-level or how the sector can collectively influence policy or organize cross-sectorally.


● Defining “procedures”, “practices” and “protocols” is an issue: the specific terms are not always used, and when they are used they are not always used consistently.

   ○ Our project can play a role in helping to define these terms, why they are important, and what are the limitations.

● There may be a fourth “P” i.e. Policy: A number of research reports cite immigration and other policies as having a direct impact on newcomer and refugee survivors of GBV.


● Lack of criteria for assessing “promising” 3Ps: While there are some criteria for “promising” settlement practices, to date we have not found any criteria relating to GBV promising practices for the settlement sector.


● Not just about the tool, but about its use (or mis-use): In assessing the effectiveness of a 3P, it’s important not only to consider the content of the 3P, but also the training on how to use it. There is a risk of 3Ps being mis-used in ways that can put already vulnerable communities at greater risk.


● Capacity to write things down: we know anecdotally that there are procedures being developed at the ground level by individual workers and organizations that are encountering GBV disclosures, but these are not always written down. This further limits the capacity to share, develop, refine or assess informal practices.

- Survey/ interviews might help us to identify the extent to which workers have informal or unwritten practices, as well as the organizational constraints on formalizing, testing and sharing 3Ps.

● Tension between consistency and adaptability: There is both a need to ensure consistency in practices (e.g. knowing how to respond to disclosure) while also being able to adapt 3Ps to local contexts and the needs of individuals (i.e. there are concerns about ‘standardization’ of 3Ps that lack nuance for diverse needs).

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