Theory of Change Frequently Asked Questions

What is your Theory of Change?

We are working to create a world where all people can live and love freely without fear because living a life free of violence is a basic human right. WSCADV’s Theory of Change is a visual representation of the path we are following to create the changes we seek.

Does this mean you don’t focus on domestic violence anymore?

We do focus on domestic violence. Our member programs work tirelessly to help survivors of abuse towards safety and freedom, and WSCADV continues to be the leading voice on ending domestic violence in Washington State.

Why have you broadened your goal when you haven’t solved the problem of domestic violence yet?

We have made tremendous strides in interrupting domestic violence and providing essential supports to survivors. And yet, domestic violence is still incredibly prevalent. Survivors of abuse tell us that they need: Freedom – to make their own choices about their lives; Options (like affordable housing, quality jobs, healthcare) – to live safely and independently from an abusive partner; and Connection – to be listened to and believed in their communities. This calls us to expand our efforts, particularly for those who are also harmed by racism, homophobia, and discrimination based on religion/class/culture/physical ability. We must address these oppressions that systematically take away people’s freedom, options, and connection if we are to end domestic and sexual violence.

Are direct services/the programs that provide support to survivors of domestic violence and their children a part of this Theory of Change?

Yes! The services our member programs provide are a critical part of creating a world where all people can live and love freely without fear. When advocates provide transportation options, information and access to birth control, or flexible financial assistance to help a family get or keep safe housing, they are removing barriers to safety and stability, and helping to prevent future violence.

Why are you shifting away from focusing on the criminal legal system?

Nearly 50 years of investing in the criminal legal system has produced significant improvements in the response to domestic violence and meaningful help for many individuals. It is now time to expand the options available for people to find safety and justice, especially for people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ people, and survivors with disabilities, for whom the criminal legal system may not be a viable resource.

Does that mean you aren’t going to work with police, prosecutors, or courts at all anymore?

No, we are not ending all our work in that arena. The criminal legal system remains an important option for survivors. Rather, we are working to expand the range of options available for people to find safety and justice, and for stopping the violence before it starts.

What do you mean by economic justice and community economic resilience?

We believe all people should be able to make decisions about their relationships based on what is best for them; no one should have to stay in a relationship because they don’t have the resources to leave. We must provide support—money, jobs, housing, healthcare, childcare—so that people stay in relationships for the right reasons: love, family, community.

What does gender and reproductive liberation mean?

All people have the right to make decisions about their own bodies, their sexuality, and their gender. When either an abusive partner, or systems, or laws control access to birth control and healthcare, or discriminate based on gender and sexuality, it limits survivors’ freedom and their options, and makes them—and our communities—less safe.

Have a question we didn’t answer here? We’d love to hear from you! Email wscadv@wscadv.org.

Click here for our Q&A handout!