Blueprint for Safety

Empowering Survivors with Successful Intervention

The Blueprint for Safety (BP) is a comprehensive guide for the justice system's response to domestic violence cases from 911 to final case disposition.

It is a model that embraces a collective policy, philosophy, and methodology for the criminal justice system in responding to crimes of domestic abuse.

It is centered on each individual victim’s safety and deterring further acts of violence. At the very heart of the Blueprint is a collaborative approach to stop domestic violence and reduce the overall harm it creates; increase protections for victims; cultivate a more equitable justice system; offer opportunities for change; create a safer community for all, and ultimately, save lives.

The Impact of Blueprint for Safety

The Blueprint for Safety is a collaborative triumph – designed to continuously evolve. Our collective Blueprint work allows for active engagement in resolving disagreements, constructively challenging one another, and putting forth critical issues or problems to be resolved. Our unified goals protect adult and child victims from ongoing abuse, impose meaningful consequences for abusive offenders, help perpetrators who are willing to change, and work to reduce any unintended consequences of government interventions.

We share our model across the nation and internationally.  And as a Blueprint community, we are united in our commitment to excellence and to one day end the epidemic known as domestic violence.


“Together, we have changed our community and communities across the
nation and across the globe. From Nashville to New Orleans, from Dublin to Dubai, SPIP has been there helping communities respond to domestic violence.”

– John Harrington, former commissioner of public safety for the State of Minnesota and former chief of police for the City of St. Paul

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SPIP believes that appropriately and effectively addressing domestic violence is a life and death matter.

We further believe the elimination of battering requires continual critical examination of our own work, society’s attitudes and system practices.

To that end, in 2008 with the strength of our partnerships, we were motivated to push our collective work even further - to reach more victims and create policies and processes that fit the horrendous impact and complexity of domestic abuse crimes. It was an effort made possible by the generous support of the Minnesota Legislature and was grounded in what we were doing well in St. Paul/Ramsey County and the best practices of domestic violence programs and jurisdictions across the nation.

The City of St. Paul, the St. Paul & Ramsey County Domestic Abuse Intervention Project (SPIP), and Praxis International worked together - bringing key people from within the Justice System, national experts, community-based advocates and victims of domestic violence to create a model that would further challenge and improve the response to domestic violence - from 911 to final case disposition. In 2010 that vision was realized through the creation and implementation of the St. Paul and National Blueprint for Safety.

The Blueprint is built on six principles of intervention that research tells us make for an effective response in DV cases:

  1. Adhere to an interagency approach and collective intervention goals
  2. Build attention to the context and severity of abuse into each intervention
  3. Recognize that most domestic violence is a patterned crime requiring continuing engagement with victims and offenders
  4. Establish sure and swift consequences for continued abuse
  5. Use the power of the criminal justice system to send messages of help and accountability
  6. Act in ways that reduce unintended consequences and the disparity of impact on victims and offenders

Since establishing the Blueprint for Safety in 2010:

  • Police can better determine who is being victimized and who is perpetrating the violence
  • Incidents and behaviors are more skillfully connected to reveal abusers’ lethality and
    potential risks to the victims
  • Cases are better prioritized, dangerous Gone on Arrivals have significantly greater arrest and charging rates, and evidence collection and victim engagement has greatly improved
  • With the Blueprint for Safety, each arm of the justice system is better positioned to
    identify, assess and document risk and danger at each phase of case processing, and effectively build upon one another’s work
  • And each arm of the justice system strengthens their partnerships with community-based advocates, who keep the real lived experiences of victims at the forefront of all the Blueprint’s work.

The Blueprint for Safety award is to honor an individual who is selected by the Blueprint Steering Committee, whose dedication and work towards ending domestic abuse reflects the collective approach and spirit of the Blueprint for Safety. Each year the Blueprint for Safety Award is presented to a recipient at SPIP’s annual Domestic Violence Awareness Event held in October.

Blueprint Committees

A working group of agency leaders charged to monitor the implementation, enhance the impact, and strengthen the tenets of the adopted/collective Blueprint for Safety Policy - to enhance the justice system’s capacity to stop violence, reduce harm and save lives.

Areas of focus to monitor the implementation and enhance the impact of the Blueprint for Safety:

  1. Determine if the Blueprint is “institutionalized”
  2. Determine the extent to which new policies and practices are being followed by agency practitioners
  3. Determine if key features of the Blueprint are working
  4. Pay attention to victims’ real-lived experiences, as reported by advocacy programs
  5. Reduce unintended consequences and disparity of impact
  6. Measure and analyze the results of our Blueprint interagency practices
  7. Adapt Blueprint policies/protocols
  8. Collect and review data, provide input to agency heads as needed

Created to develop and implement a model for Firearms Prohibition for Perpetrators of Domestic Violence - to ensure more effective enforcement of existing laws, and the development of protocols and practices in the civil and criminal justice systems to deter and prevent domestic homicides and the use of firearms to intimidate and threaten victims.

Focuses on reducing domestic homicides through a heightened collaboration and concentration on highly lethal domestic crimes and victims at high-risk of imminent harm or murder; creating a monthly mechanism for intensified/ongoing collaboration to ultimately reduce highly lethal domestic crimes.

Reviews all the interactions domestic homicide victims and their perpetrators had with the Justice System to identify potential gaps and/or patterns and recommends and implements changes as needed.

Key members of the St. Paul and Ramsey County Blueprint for Safety are the St. Paul Police Department, St. Paul City Attorney’s Office, Ramsey County Attorney’s Office, Ramsey County Probation, Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, Ramsey County Emergency Communications, Justice Point and SPIP. The Bench is involved in the Homicide Review Committee. These highly skilled members are committed to and involved in the Blueprint for Safety national and international work.

Additional Information