This is the sixth installment of the Best Practice Assessment series. Click to read the previous installments.
After completing their system map, reviewing case files and policies, and conducting survivor focus groups, teams are ready to pull together all the data they’ve collected thus far to identify trends, develop findings, and make recommendations for change.
Using the BPA Findings Template, each team gathers for one last meeting to discuss which practices need attention in their community. For example, if a team discovers that strangulation indicators were overlooked in eight of ten cases reviewed, and also hears from several survivors that their strangulation assaults were minimized, they might choose to highlight this finding and recommend that local law enforcement agencies implement the use of a strangulation supplement.
This step also provides individual team members the opportunity to share any information from their own experiences related to the practices in question. This is important, because as the BPA notes, “Just because a practice is not evident in the case record does not necessarily mean it does not happen.” For example, officers may regularly follow their agency’s protocol to refer victims to the local advocacy agency, but that same protocol does not specify that they must document that referral in their report. Without this knowledge shared from the law enforcement BPA team member, it might be assumed that advocacy referrals are never made by officers. Instead of drawing an inaccurate conclusion, the team can now make a more nuanced recommendation that protocols be updated to require that the outcome of all advocacy referrals are documented.
When each team has thoroughly discussed and agreed upon their findings and recommendations, they are ready for the last step of the BPA process: writing the report.
In upcoming issues, we will dive deeper into the remaining step of the BPA process:
- Step 6 – Write the BPA Report