Improving Justice in Child Contact

Improving Justice in Child Contact

Children's participation in child contact decision-making for families affected by domestic violence

How will we know we are making a difference? Embedding evaluation in the IJCC project

Everyone working on the IJCC project really cares about improving children’s rights in contact cases where there has been domestic violence, and is working hard to make a difference. As part of the project we have an evaluation strand built in which will help make sure we get the data and feedback we need to know we are effective. I am Sarah Morton, from Matter of Focus, and I am leading the work on the evaluation.

How Matter of Focus will help

The IJCC project works with some challenging outcomes. Changing policy and practice to better support women and children, and ensuring children’s rights are respected are difficult to achieve and assess.

Matter of Focus will work on this project to help ensure we contribute to these outcomes, and that data is collected in each of the five partner countries (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Portugal, Romania and Scotland) in similar enough ways to make some comparisons and to make claims about the overall contribution of the project.

Everyone in this project needs to be inspired to take action and have the support they need to make a difference in their country. We want them to feel that evaluation is practical and doable, and that the data and feedback they collect can help them deliver a better project.

Matter of Focus, headings for outcome mapping

Taking a systems view

The IJCC project is taking a systems approach to tackle the problems women and children experience when child contact with an abusive partner is ordered by the courts. This is important because the problem is a systemic one – with the police, court systems, social workers, children’s organisations, policy makers and domestic violence support organisations all having a part to play to if change is going to happen. Because the Matter of Focus approach takes account of this complexity, there is a great fit. The approach means that as well as evaluating what happens, we will take account of the different contexts in which the work takes place, and we will focus on the contribution of the project to the outcomes we seek, rather than a simple cause and effect model (you can read more about our approach to outcome mapping and use of contribution analysis on our website).

Where are we now?

Matter of Focus worked collaboratively with the core team to map the project activities to the outcomes that are important.

Outcome Framework for the overall IJCC project


Further discussion with the young experts will explore how they would like to be involved in the evaluation. This includes potential for young people to be engaged in analysis of the data and feedback collected by the project.

Outcome Framework for the IJCC Young Experts


The evaluation team and partners have agreed a set of standard feedback questions for multi-stakeholder meetings that will take place in each country. These include getting data on the specific sectors that are engaged in each country, and how different stakeholders think they can take action to ensure that women and children’s rights are realised in child contact following domestic violence.

Where next?

This project started in November 2018. Matter of Focus will help to collect data at key points in the project and run a stakeholder survey across the five countries in 2019 and again near the end of the project.

For more information about the Matter of Focus approach and the evaluation for this project please visit or email


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