Evaluating Our Work
Does your work make a difference? Which dating violence prevention curriculum is best for a universal audience at your local middle school? How can you advocate for more funding for your program? Evaluating your work can give you insight into all of these questions.
However, many domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, and coalitions do not evaluate their prevention programs for various reasons (and of course, many do as well). For some of us, the very idea of evaluation can bring unease. Preventionists may feel ill-prepared to conduct an evaluation of their programs because they do not have a formal education or background in evaluation. For domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers with few staff, evaluation may seem like a luxury that only larger agencies with more resources can conduct. There is also the fear that evaluation may reveal that our prevention programs are not making the difference we had hoped they would make in our communities. It’s no wonder that evaluation can be overwhelming for many of us!
Evaluation is a critical piece to our work. Evaluation helps us identify and sustain the components of our prevention program that work and examine and change those that do not work. It bolsters our funding proposals, it opens the doors to schools and other institutions, and it builds credibility within the community.
Like many domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, and coalitions across the country, the Nebraska Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Coalition is committed to evaluating its work and is currently building its evaluation capacity as part of the Rape Prevention and Education Program under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.