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by Stephanie M. Townsend, PhD, Townsend Consulting & Evaluation, Inc.

This article originally appeared as part of the ReShape Newsletter: Sexual Assault Program Evaluation Coalitions Take the Lead (Winter 2013)

If you ask professionals working with sexual assault survivors for their initial reactions to the word “evaluation”, you will get a variety of answers. In fact, I recently asked precisely this question of leaders in the field. Their responses included: “difficult”, “finding out how well you do”, “challenging”, “necessary”, “I hate it”, “important”, and “time consuming”. What is often left out is the connection to services. Evaluation, when done well, should strengthen services for survivors. To achieve this, evaluation must be integrally a part of service delivery – not something that is added on or optional. It should be motivated by the program’s interests – not merely a response to a funder’s requirement. It should give voice to survivors’ experiences – not be a burden to them.

Read the full article in the attachment section.