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ISA Increasing Self Awareness Print E-mail


ISA Increasing Self Awareness

Daphne Project N° 2006-1_300_W


The project aims at increasing self-awareness (ISA) of risk of repeated victimisation in women victims of intimate partner violence. IPV victims underestimate their own risk even of lethal violence. The project aims at developing an European valid self-rating version of the SARA (Spousal Assault Risk Assessment) to help women help themselves go through what they are living, the risk they are running and possible ways to manage and reduce this risk of recidivism and negative mental/behavioral consequences of violence, by enhancing coping strategies, resiliency and adopting pro-active measures believed as efficient for the victim herself. Expected results: construction, validation and implementation of ISA, a self-rating/procedure toolkit for assessing risk by IPV victims in 4 different EU countries (IT, NL, UK & PT), useful also to identify victims most at need of support/treatment who are less able to cope; ISA will be transferred to IP victims by victim support & social workers, and police. An on-line ISA will be developed for treatment purposes. Main beneficiaries are victims of IPV; main target groups are victim support/shelter, social workers and police who will be trained in risk-management and risk communication processes and ISA implementation with beneficiaries.
In order to respond to the problem of IP victims’ perception of risk of violence and increasing self-awareness, the project will conduct a transnational EU study to establish the change of awareness of risk by victims prior and after SARA risk assessment first conducted by professional assessor (victim support agency) and then by victims with ISA. The victims will have to identify presence/absence of risk factors, routine-related violence or exeptional violence, type of violence and then record it on a ‘monthly calendar’ and complete the ISA. The victims will become own assessors and according to level of risk identified will have to decide how to manage this risk and initiate coping-strategies. Different legislations, social responses and perception of IP violence in EU participating countries will affect victims by providing them with more/less resource and more/less tolerance of violence.


"Associazione Differenza Donna", comprises of its secretary and training offices, located in via delle Tre Cannelle, 15; the Shelter for Battered women (Centro comunale antiviolenza) located in Via di Torre Spaccata n. 157 -Roma; the Shelter for Battered women of the Province of Rome, (Centro Provinciale Antiviolenza), located in via di Villa Pamphili n. 100 - Roma; the centre for women in need located in via Monte delle Capre, 23, Rome. An office (for legal consultations and the account part) is located at the 'Casa Internazionale della Donna', via della Lungara n.19 - Roma.


Partner 1. The Slachtofferhulp Nederland is the National organisation for assisting victims of crime (and IPV); it wants to increase skills to help these victims to become more aware of their risk and more resilient by adopting preventive measure, protect themselves and their children with the in ISA approach. The ISA procedure will become a routine procedure with IPV victims. Will collect data to establish predictive validity of own risk assessment effect on ISA (Increased Self Awareness).

Partner 2. Victims Support in Scotland, after being trained by the applicant and Intravic staff in ISA approach will be responsible for the training of Scottish victims support staff and volunteers to help victims of IPV in becoming aware of own risk of re-victimisation and initiate strategies to protect themselves. Victim Support in Scotland has constant contact with victims of IPV and wants to increase staff skills and intervention capacities to help these victims to become more aware of their risk and more resilient by adopting preventive measure, protect themselves and their children.

Partner 3. The Associação Portuguesa de Apoio à Vítima wants to increase skills and intervention capacities to help IPV victims to become more aware of their risk and more resilient by adopting preventive measure, protect themselves and their children. After being trained by the applicant and Intravic staff in ISA approach, will train Portuguese victims support staff and volunteers in ISA approach. The risk assessment procedure will become a routine procedure with a group of IPV victims, to communicate risk. Will collect data to establish predictive validity of own risk assessment effect on ISA (Increased Self Awareness).

Partner 4. Intervict of the Department of Criminal Law, Faculty of Law will host training meetings and steering committee meetings; will provide assistance and coordination to Slachtofferhulp Nederland and analyse prospective data collection with ISA, to prove validity of women assessing their risk in reducing own risk. It will assist all partners and applicant in research method set up, uniformed data collection, assisting and providing training and develop ISA.

Partner 5 The Instituto Nacional de Polícia e Ciências Criminais is in charge of training police officers and conducting research of function and role of police. The Institute has already participated in Daphne 04/044/W project and implemented SARA and used it. It collaboration with Associação Portuguesa de Apoio à Vítima will be fundamental for sending cases to victim support and implement self-awareness. The Institution will help in validating ISA, by having victims undergo self-awareness.
Partner 6 Casa Delle Donne Maltrattate di Milano is a non-profit association assisting and providing protection to women victims of domestic violence. They will be in charge of addressing cases to increase awareness of risk and implementing ISA with clients. It   will help in collecting data for the implementation and set up of ISA toolkit. It will provide training to its workers.


(1) Based on implementation of SARA - Screening version (SARA-S, based on 10 risk factors) in previous Daphne projects, the SARA-S will be transferred to new partners (partner 1, 2, 3, 6) in a 2-days training meeting in NL. Associate partner from Serbia-Montenegro who is director of victimology association, dealing with victims of crime will be involved to benefit from EU best practices for the protection of victims and will share abut family violence s-position in his country.
(2) A 6 months study will be conducted with victims’ support agencies (applicant, partner 1, 2, 3) to rate their level of perception of risk of recidivism in the short-medium and long term, and risk of escalation and lethal violence BEFORE the assessor starts the SARA interview and AFTERWARDS. The assessor will ask and record also the women plan for protection prior and following the interview. This will be checked after two months contact with the victim agency. In each country a sample of approx. 100 cases will be used.
(3) Data will be analysed to statistically prove significant differences in terms of changes of perception of risk by victims prior/after the risk-communication process activate with SARA risk assessment. The hypothesis is that going through the whole story with a structured approach (SARA) will increase awareness and recollection of negative events, therefore the perception of risk will increase when recalling the whole story/violence suffered. EU differences will be revealed.
(4) Applicant and partners will develop an EU version of ISA (Increasing Self Awareness) toolkit in 4 languages (IT, NL, UK, PT); ISA will be a self rating/procedure where victims have to rate the presence or absence of risk factors. The ISA will be self-serving, and have a short and easy to handle format: it will constitutes of a 12-months calendar format where women contacting the shelter or victims agencies will have to rate each evening with a coloured cross regarding what has happened during the day. Five colours will be used: white, green, yellow, orange and red according to the perception of severity of (psychological, physical, sexual, economic) violence that has happened during that day. In case a woman is afraid of keeping such calendar with her, this will be rated once a week for each day, at the victim service/shelter. The victim will have to rate also other relational and perpetrator related risk factors attached in the toolkit.
(5) A 2-days steering committee meeting will be held in IT to set up training modules for victims to learn how to increase awareness of risk and manage it.
(6) Victim support workers ill be trained in each EU participating country in experimental sites: Rome & Cagliari, for IT, Lisbon for PT, Tilburg, Brabant and Zeeland for NL and Glasgow and Edinburgh for Scotland, UK, to learn about use of ISA with and by victims, with a 3-days workshop-seminar training.
(7) During a 6 months period, women contacting victim support and shelter will be trained/instructed in ISA use; they will rate several psychological scales measuring coping strategies, anxiety, and external/internal blame attribution dimensions, as well as measures of Stockholm syndrome (justification, minimization of violence, dependency of perpetrator). (7.1) ISA will include questions regarding expected outcome, and risk-management strategies the victim foresees, if any. (7.2) Level of risk perceived by women will be measured BEFORE the ISA assessment toolkit is used and two months AFTERWARDS the daily assessment procedure by measuring also IP violence with CTS (Conflict Tactic Scale, Straus, 1979; Straus et al. 1996). (7.3) Victims will be asked which measures they took to prevent risk of recidivism they previously assessed. NOTE that this does not mean the victims are responsible of the violence and its re-occurrence or that it depends on what they did/do or did not/do not. However, victims trying to reduce any dynamic ‘vulnerability factor’, seeking help, getting in touch with victim services, asking for protective/restraining orders and respecting them, avoiding trying to protect the perpetrator and justify him, they might help prevent/reduce re-victimisation. This might also vary according to the EU country (southern countries compared with northern countries). (7.4) As a pilot trial, in IT, data and application of a perpetrator self-awareness risk toolkit will done also with men getting in touch with the Centre for Alcoholic treatment of the Policlinico (main hospital structure in Rome) where approx. 60% of patients have proved to be violent against their partners. A perpetrator version of ISA will be developed, to have them assess their level risk of recidivism.
(8) Multivariate analyses will be conduced nationally and internationally to show any differences in EU victim’s behaviours, reactions; data will be compared with the control group (victims not using ISA) will prove efficacy of ISA. Data will also be compared with SARA rates by assessor.
(9) An experimental/trail group of victims who increased their awareness and reduced their victimisation, and increased resiliency (approx. 10 for each country) will become themselves (on a volunteer base) active in the process; they will be trained as ‘peer-helper/risk assessment mentors’ of other women. At shelters/victim services, they will show/supervise the use of the ISA toolkit to other victims. (9.1) Victims will be involved in producing a CD to increase self-awareness, comprising of ISA toolkit and will help applicant and partners conduct of Focus groups, and speak at conference. The CD will include a ‘scenario-approach’. According to the assessment of risk, which are the possible consequences if: a) no intervention is taken, b) the woman activates coping strategies, resiliency, and active actions. 9.2 Preparation of booklet for school about early indicators of IPV.
(10) A computerised on-line version of ISA will be put in the already existing web-site ( for victims to fill in, everyday, the calendar and send info, risk assessment and rates of the psychological scales. This method (writing therapy) has treatment/intervention scope as well as a way for the woman to help herself. Data will be handled in respect of privacy issues, and dealt with only for treatment purposes. They will be read by a person in charge of this handling.
(11) International 2 day conference will launch the ISA toolkit and present results and its potential. Testimonies and involvement of at least one victim-support representative and victim survivor will be involved from other EU countries. The first day of the conference will be addressed towards people woring in schools to discuss about early sign of IPV
The ISA tool is useful to understand:
-     What is happening to you, in your actual relationship with your partner or in your past relationship;
-     What is the present level of risk and if is necessary that you ask for help, if you haven’t done yet.

Keep with you the Isa tool and read the manual. Everything has happened or is happening to you, is not your fault, it happens to many women and you can talk about that with people which want to help you, without shame, in full respect of your privacy and of all the people involved.
Look at your result together with some operator from the violence centre or with who is helping you. Try to answer as accurately as possible in order to give a complete picture of your situation.  Your answers will remain confidential and will help us to better understand what is happening to you. 
Download the tool and send us the result to


Presentazione del progetto by Anna C. Baldry
L'esperienza canadese by Z. Hilton


ISA Form

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ISA Manual for practitioners




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Interim Report

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Differenza Donna ONG presents:

Still a new dawn

Intimate partner violence and stalking: new approaches

ROME, 19 - 20 FEBRUARY 2010