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Document Our Work Surveys. VAdata: Virginia’s Sexual and Domestic Violence Data Collection System. Documenting Our Work.

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document our work surveys
Document Our Work Surveys

VAdata: Virginia’s Sexual and Domestic Violence Data Collection System

documenting our work

Documenting Our Work

The Documenting Our Work (DOW) project was initiated by Family Violence Prevention and Services Act staff at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence

so what is dow
So, what is DOW?

DOW is national initiative to develop tools to gather outcome data on the impact and value of services provided by local domestic violence programs.

It requires a new type of data collection—collecting data directly from victims.

what are outcomes
What are “outcomes”

Outcomes help to document that our services make a difference to people.

This more qualitative data demonstrates that all we have done has had an important impact.

what are the two fvpsa outcomes included in virginia s dow surveys
What are the two FVPSA outcomes included in Virginia’s DOW surveys
  • As a result of contact with the domestic violence program, 65% or more of domestic violence survivors will have strategies for enhancing their safety.
  • As a result of contact with the domestic violence program, 65% or more of domestic violence survivors will have knowledge of available community resources.
there are 2 dow surveys
There are 2 DOW surveys
  • Shelter Resident Survey, to be made available to person’s accessing shelter services
  • Community Services Survey, to be made available to person’s using community advocacy services.
what is included in the surveys
What is included in the surveys
  • The 2 surveys are essentially identical
  • Each offers adult survivors the opportunity to identify help that they needed and received (or did not)
  • Each provides some outcome information about the impacts of services
  • Each offers respondents to speak in their own words
where do we find these surveys so we can print them out
Where do we find these surveys so we can print them out?
  • Go under the Tools section of the Main Menu in VAdata and click GO beside “Forms, Printable”
  • Click on the Community or Shelter Survey you want to download – this will start the download automatically and you can print the pdf form
when how do we hand out the surveys
When/How Do We Hand Out the Surveys?

Community-Based Services---hand out the survey to each adult who receives services from your agency on at least 3 different dates.

Shelter Services--- hand out surveys to residents at the point that you think they are about mid-way through their shelter stay.

what happens to the completed surveys
What happens to the completed surveys?

We request that people completing the surveys put them in an envelope, seal it, and return it to you.

You may also choose to have a designated box where they can put the surveys.

  • We request that you send the completed surveys to PO Box 8565, Richmond VA 23226 on a regular basis (preferably weekly) and no later than 15 days following the end of a calendar quarter (Jan. 15, April 15, July 15, Oct. 15).
what happens to the surveys
What Happens to the Surveys?
  • Action Alliance staff will send them to the person with whom the Action Alliance has contracted to enter the data.
  • S/he will enter all of the data into VAdata.
  • Summarized data will be reported to you via your regular VAdata reports.
  • The paper surveys will be shredded once entered into VAdata, but a pdf copy will be retained for quality assurance.
how will this data be helpful to us
How will this data be helpful to us?
  • To improve services, including an examination of whether or not people from marginalized and/or underserved populations have different experiences with our services
  • To document need.
  • To promote accountability to the people we serve.
how will this data be helpful on a national level
How will this data be helpful on a national level?
  • These are outcomes that are valid, tested, and evidence-based.
  • The outcomes and survey questions were informed by people working in the domestic violence field and not imposed by an outsider
  • Across the nation, victims/survivors will be answering, at a minimum, these same two questions:
will there be other outcomes from this new data
Will there be other outcomes from this new data?

Take a look at the surveys.

All of this data can be used to document how people were helped as a result of your services.

There is even an opportunity for people to tell us what they would have done if your services had not existed. In the Virginia, this has provided some compelling narrative.

what were those results
What were those results?

What would you do without Shelter?

  • “stay with the abuser”
  • “I would be killed or still in my situation”
  • “I don’t know I think I would took my life.”
  • “Been on street; unsafe”

I’m sure many of us have heard these statements. How compelling to be able to report on them in the person’s own words!

what happens if the surveys are not completed and returned
What happens if the surveys are not completed and returned?

These surveys are completely VOLUNTARY.

People may choose, for whatever reason, not to return them.

What is important is everyone who fits the criteria is offered the opportunity to complete and return a survey.

what if someone leaves the shelter unexpectedly without receiving a survey
What if someone leaves the shelter unexpectedly, without receiving a survey?

This is going to happen, and it’s not a problem.

The goal is to develop a system for distributing the surveys and to follow your system when possible.

what if an advocate forgets to give a person a survey on the planned date
What if an advocate forgets to give a person a survey on the planned date?

This, too, is going to happen. When there are new procedures in practice and/or new staff and volunteers in the agency, things get missed.

We encourage SDVA advocates to do what they can to assure that victims/survivors are given the opportunity to participate.

who do we call if we have questions
Who do we call if we have questions?

Contact your designed SDVA liaison @

804.377.0335