Open Doors Project
The MCEDSV Open Doors Project was an innovative project funded by the Administration of Children and Families, Financial Assistance Award, Family Violence Prevention and Services Program. Final products from this project were made available to MCEDSV members, as well as advocates and allies across the nation.
The overall goal of the Michigan Open Doors Project was to enhance community collaboration between domestic violence advocates, community service providers and those working in the criminal justice and corrections systems. The Michigan Open Doors project brought together community organizations, university researchers, survivors, and state and national organizations to form dynamic, collaborative partnerships and has produced some wonderful products as a result. There were three advocacy tools produced as a result.
Advocacy Training Tools available:
Open Doors - Best Practice Toolkit for Working with Domestic Violence Survivors with Criminal Histories (2011)
The MCEDSV Open Doors Project is a national demonstration project that aims to identify and address the many barriers that incarcerated and formerly incarcerated domestic and sexual assault survivors face in obtaining advocacy and support from domestic violence and sexual assault programs. An important capacity-building goal of the Open Doors Project is to enhance the community collaboration between DV/SA advocates, community service providers and those working in the criminal justice and corrections systems. The goal of these collaborations is to facilitate a shared objective of keeping women safe and out of jails and prisons.
This Toolkit was reproduced in electronic PDF and web format and has been burned to
CD-ROM for dissemination to 54 domestic violence coalitions and 16 National Resource Centers. The toolkit's primary authors are Dr. Cris Sullivan and Dr. Sheryl Kubiak.
Free to download
MCEDSV Open Doors Team completed an additional advocacy training tool currently in the form of a reference brochure/chart titled, "Advocating for Women with Abusive Partners who are Facing Criminal Charges." This resource will assist DV/SA program advocates and executive leadership staffs to critically problem solve through the barriers and hardships which survivors, who are facing criminal charges, experience in the various stages of the process. The chart includes advocacy tips for the DV worker and recommendations for executive leadership during the various stages of a criminal case, including appeal, commutation, clemency, parole, and probation. The brochure includes advocacy tips for both domestic violence workers and also executive leadership of DV staff. It includes advice and suggestions for advocacy at all stages of a survivor's experience with the legal system including the following:
- Stage of Criminal Proceeding: Outstanding Warrant
- Stage of Criminal Proceeding: Arrest and Pre-Trial
- Stage of Criminal Proceeding: Prosecution – Trial Stage
- Stage of Criminal Proceeding: Sentencing
- Stage of Criminal Proceeding: Appeal, Commutation, and Clemency
- Stage of Criminal Proceeding: Post Conviction Parole and Probation
- Training Handout for DV Advocates - Case Scenarios for Discussion
Road Blocks and Detours Facing Formerly-Incarcerated Survivors; Women Charged with and/or Convicted of a Criminal Offense
The Open Doors Team developed a template for a new community training tool entitled, "Road Blocks and Detours Facing Formerly-Incarcerated Survivors; Women Charged with and/or Convicted of a Criminal Offense," modeled after the WSCADV product, "In Her Shoes." The training materials and case scenarios developed for the electronic template of the tool were written to reflect the experiences of survivors who have been charged or convicted of a crime and those that are currently or have at some point been incarcerated, on probation or parole. Training participants will experience the many difficulties and barriers survivors experience and are asked to problem solve for viable options and resources. Internal testing of the debriefing component led to valuable dialogue and discussion among participants. Anecdotal reports from the internal testing revealed a significant increase in empathy for the characters.
MCEDSV hopes, pending securing future funding, to pilot Road Blocks and Detours further and potentially develop an evaluation tool that will measure empathy and knowledge. Road Blocks and Detours was developed to serve as the flexible template for state coalitions and community advocates to further adapt the scenarios and character to reflect the legal environment of their own states. An instruction manual advising state coalitions on how to adapt and further develop the tool will be included on the CD-ROM. Full development of the Road Blocks and Detours kit would include tailor-made character and station cards to be laminated and placed in a container. MCEDSV is committed to exploring potential funding sources for a more developed evaluation and production of the kit container.
Please note: some of the links referenced in the text may no longer be working links. The hyperlinks were last accessed in December 2011. We apologize for any inconvenience and encourage you to contact the primary source listed.
All of these products were produced by MCEDSV. The project was funded in part by the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration of Children and Families, Financial Assistance Award, Family Violence Prevention and Services Program, Award # 90EV0394101 awarded to Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence. The views and conclusions contained herein are those of the authors' and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies or endorsements, either expressed or implied, of the DHHS or the U.S. Government. This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It's distributed with the understanding that the publisher isn't engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought.
MCEDSV wishes to thank and honor the contributions of both our state and national reviewers, who so generously gave of their time and expertise to provide comment and feedback on the toolkit.