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Training Kits: Frequently Asked Questions

How does it work? 

Based on the experiences of real survivors, participants walk in the shoes of various characters experiencing abusive and controlling relationships. Groups or individuals are given a card describing the background and current situation of a character. Different stations throughout the room contain color-coordinated plot cards that align with each character. As participants are led to different stations, they read through scenarios their character faces, and make choices about their character’s next steps. The most critical part of the activity, however, is the debrief. Discussion helps participants answer lingering questions, give the facilitator the opportunity to dispel persistent myths and misunderstandings, and helps participants engage in the way they can make change individually and locally. 

For even more information about how our kits work, including our virtual kits, please visit our store’s FAQ page!

What comes in each kit? 

Visit our store to see what’s included in each of our kits!

How do I set it up? 

Below is a diagram representing one way to set up the experience. Participants start the experience together and the facilitator provides a basic overview of the activity. Then participants will move around to the various stations as they ‘walk’ in their character’s shoes. When everyone is finished, they reconvene with the facilitator for the debrief. 

A diagram of the set up for In Her Shoes/In Their Shoes. Tables are set up around the perimeter of the "room" with station cards posted on the wall. Character cards are laid out at the corresponding station cards for participants to walk between.

Do I need to be trained to facilitate? 

You do not need to be trained in order to facilitate. Each training kit comes with a facilitator’s guide that anyone can follow. However, we suggest having a strong understand of domestic and dating violence dynamics. 

How large of a group can this be facilitated with? 

It is best for groups of around 20-40 people but modifications can be made if groups are larger. For larger groups, you can have groups (instead of pairs) go through each character and debrief in small groups rather than one large group. In this case, it can be helpful to have more than one facilitator. 

Can I preview In Their Shoes to ensure it will be school appropriate? 

The kits are copyrighted and therefore we do not provide large amounts of text to preview. The facilitator’s guide that comes with the kit includes information about the simulation as well as character synopses to give the facilitator an overview. We are happy to provide support in preparing for a school board meeting or discuss in further detail what the content entails. To do so, contact our prevention staff.

Do you have a version of In Her Shoes that focuses on _? 

Knowing the ways domestic violence intersects with culture and identity, we ideally would have many versions of In Her Shoes/In Their Shoes. We are often asked if the kit can be adapted or modified to fit a specific population. Because of copyright infringement, changes can’t be made without going through our legal permission process.

Can I modify my kit? 

Our kits are all copyrighted, so any adaptation would be subject to a licensing agreement with WSCADV with an associated cost. Historically, we have done licensing agreements with entities who are interested in creating new characters based on our versions. If you are interested in pursuing this, please contact us

The concept of In Her Shoes is not copyrighted, so if you wanted to create a similar activity and not call it “In Her Shoes” or “In Their Shoes,” we would appreciate an attribution similar to the one below. 


[Title] is based on “In Her Shoes/In Their Shoes,” developed and owned by the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Seattle, Washington, USA, 

Can I take a character out and replace it with another? 

Each character intentionally represents different dynamics, barriers, and identities of survivors and their relationships. Facilitators can pull a character out, but we recommend that this be done thoughtfully. Before doing so, we ask that you pause and ask how your biases might be at play in the decision to pull a character. Often this question is asked in reference to the LGBTQ characters of In Their Shoes. By omitting these characters, the opportunity is lost to engage with participants about the realities of domestic violence and combat the very structures that enable it to thrive. Homophobia is a powerful tool that abusers can rely on to control, coerce, and violate their partners. When we are living and aiding in communities and societies that are homophobic, we are aiding and abetting in the harm. We encourage facilitators to use this opportunity, when many people might be considering the dynamics of violence for the first time, to engage with participants around the way homophobia and other forms of oppression, such as racism, compound the harm being done. 

Can you send me the PDFs instead of paying for the kit? 

While we know it can feel expensive, purchasing the kit is a great investment. The cost from production provides a polished look, and the kit has endless uses. The In Their Shoes: Teens and Dating Violence—Classroom Edition also includes National and Washington State Educational standards, two lesson plans, and classroom posters. We understand that the cost can be prohibitive and encourage you to reach out to your local state coalition, all of whom have their own copy of In Her Shoes

Are the versions translated into other languages? 

Caminando en sus Zapatos is in Spanish, but not a translation of the English versions. This version contains characters and stories that illustrate particular challenges facing Hispanic and Latin American immigrant survivors who are facing abuse in the United States. We haven’t translated the other versions into other languages. In keeping with our philosophy that we want materials to be culturally relevant and upon talking with advocates and community members, we found that a strict translation wouldn’t necessarily be helpful in capturing the experience of survivors in certain communities. 

Can I receive a non-profit discount? 

We do not have an official non-profit discount as most of our customers are non-profit organizations. If this tool is cost prohibitive, we encourage you to reach out to your local state coalition, all of whom have their own copy of In Her Shoes.  Otherwise, please contact us to discuss other possible financial options. 

Is there an evaluation component? 

We do not have a standard evaluation to accompany the kit, but feel free to use this one or make your own. 

Are your kits evidence-based? 

Our kits are evidence-informed, but does not meet the strict definition of evidence-based. The tool was created based on real-life stories told to us by survivors, young people, their families and those who work with them. In creating In Their Shoes, we researched what young people needed around information and support for dating violence and based the character stories on what we learned. 

At what age can I use the In Their Shoes training? 

The training is geared towards adults and young people ages 14 and up. In Their Shoes: Teens and Dating Violence—Classroom Edition is mainly used with high school aged participants or older, yet the tool can be modified by the facilitator depending on the maturity and life experiences of the young people. If facilitating with younger participants, we recommend choosing one character, such as Elena, whose story involves issues such as sexting that may resonate with a younger audience, and walking through their story as an entire group. 

Who is this for? 

Everyone! In striving to create a world where everyone experiences healthy, loving and safe relationships, we all have a role to play. While these tools take participants through the experiences of individuals in abusive relationships, it is our hope that by elevating the experiences of survivors, we start the conversation not only about what we don’t want in relationships, but what we do. The activity gives participants the opportunity to practice interrupting abusive behavior they are a part of or witness and acknowledge the way in which people we love cause harm.

The In Their Shoes: Teens and Dating Violence Classroom Edition is a version specifically geared towards young people in a classroom setting. However, all the simulations resonate with adult audiences and have been found to be useful in talking about domestic violence in a variety of communities. 

Can this be used in public health settings? 

Yes! These tools aren’t limited to just one setting. We’ve seen incredible conversations result from a variety of settings and with an array of occupations and roles, including public health-oriented professions like home visitors, health care providers, and school counselors and safety officers. 

Is this prevention? 

Facilitating a conversation using these kits can be a launching pad for your violence prevention efforts. It is a great first step in addressing risk factors for domestic and sexual violence in your community as well as supporting and increasing the protective factors that help people resist it. 

These kits provide an intensely emotional and real experience to participants, and can be a springboard for different conversations around healthy relationships. The tool includes issues of gender expectations, homophobia, and racism that are based on real ways people navigate their lives, and is a great place to begin to talk about social justice issues and the way they intersect with interpersonal violence. The characters and experiences from this tool can act as common ground to have further discussion about relationships with other people in your life. We have found it particularly compelling to facilitate with parents and their teens. Parents have then found it helpful in talking with their teens about relationships by using the characters as a shared playing field. We believe prevention happens in the conversations about healthy relationships that participants have with those in their lives as a result of this experience.