Just Between You and Me: A Peer Public Legal Education and Information (PLEI) Programme for Women in Family Violence Situations


Identifying the goals of the Initiative:

Ensuring pedagogical appropriateness:

Community appropriateness:

Reaching the target audience



The objective of the "Just Between You and Me" project is to provide Public Legal Education and Information (PLEI) peer support to victims of family violence, and assess its validity as a model for PLEI delivery. The project will train peers in two communities: the Indigenous community in Sault Ste. Marie and area, and Sault Ste. Marie. The peers will be provided with resource materials and an orientation to some of the most common issues arising for victims of family violence. They will then share this information within their own networks of family, coworkers and communities, using resources already developed and existing in their areas.

To ensure that peers selected for the training are able to deliver the programme effectively, the research team reviewed other peer programmes and consulted with the Advisory Group to the project to develop the following selection criteria and screening tool.

Peer Selection Criteria:

From a review of the literature, and the Advisory Group's suggestions, the following criteria were established to guide peer recruitment and selection:

  • The candidate will demonstrate the willingness to learn and become empathetic to the issues that are faced by women who experience family violence.
  • The candidate will demonstrate a willingness to work within the feminist model of empowerment (i.e., raising women's capacity to gain control over their lives)
  • The candidate will demonstrate respect for and sensitivity towards a diversity of women
  • The candidate will demonstrate some evidence of having a large network of people contacts, i.e. people person
  • The candidate will demonstrate the understanding of confidentiality.
  • The candidate will demonstrate a reasonable amount of availability (both in time and accessibility to people)
  • The candidate will demonstrate the use and awareness of her own self-care plan.

Recruitment Process:

The initial proposal had suggested that recruitment would be done through contacting various organizations throughout the community which were already known to the research team. A poster was designed to advertize the program, and the organizations are being requested to post these in high-visibility areas. Members of the Advisory Group are also being asked to distribute the poster within their organizations and networks, and to make referrals to the program.

The research team was cognizant that making the recruitment process too onerous might discourage some valuable peers, but also wished to ensure that appropriate rigour be applied to limit the size of the peer recruits to those most able to distribute PLEI broadly through the community. To ensure diversity in the networks to which peers had access, it was concluded that an application process would be valuable.

Potential peers are requested to provide the following in application to the position:

Appendix "B" p.2

  1. Provide a letter of introduction, or resume which outlines your interest in the "Just Between You and Me" program, and your networks in the community (e.g. parents' school council, faith group, recreational group, etc)
  2. Provide one professional reference, name and contact number.
    e.g. employer (current or former), volunteer supervisor, teacher, clergy person, etc.
  3. Provide two personal references, names and numbers.
    e.g. family or friends.
  4. Willing to obtain C.P.I.C. (C.P.I.C. is available to volunteers at no cost, and the project team will assist volunteers in obtaining, after selection).

** Consideration may be given to some applicants from immigrant communities who, due to their networks would be desirable candidates, but may be unable to submit resumes and references. It is recognized that language proficiency and lack of work experience may pose barriers to immigrant women meeting the selection criteria. In those situations, an interview which will elicit the above-noted information would be more appropriate.


Following the submission of the application, references will be checked, and potential peers will be contacted and requested to attend for an interview. For consistency, a set of interview questions have been developed, based on the selection criteria.

At the conclusion of the interviews, the research team will select those candidates for training who:

  1. satisfy the team that they meet the criteria
  2. represent the diversity of Sault Ste. Marie and area
  3. at least 50% shall be from the Indigenous community


The Screening Tool and Process therefore has the following components:

  • Referrals through organizations that already provide services in this area
  • Application through letter of introduction or resume, including references
  • CPIC
  • Interviewing process
  • Contract signature

Through this five-step process, it is expected that peers will be selected who will be able to meet the selection criteria identified by the research team and the Advisory Group.

Appendix "B" p.3


Interview Questions

  1. Interviewer will introduce and describe the project "Just Between You and Me"

    Interviewer will give the expectations the project have for participants and provide participants with a copy of the "contract" (See below). Interviewer will particularly identify the issues of confidentiality and time commitment.
  2. Do you have any questions or concerns regarding your ability to meet the terms of the "contract"? (Goal: To identify whether participant is prepared to make sufficient commitment to project).
  3. How did you hear about this project? (Goal: To identify participant's community connections)
  4. If you receive this training, how would you share your new knowledge with other women? (Goal: to identify diversity of networks that may be accessed)
  5. Describe yourself, as a listener, and as a talker. (Goal: to identify ability to maintain confidentiality, ability to discern presence of abuse)
  6. Name and describe two different types of abuse. (Goal: to identify participant's knowledge level regarding woman abuse)
  7. Describe one situation where you were confronted by someone who held very different views and/or values from yourself. What did you learn from that experience? (Goal: To identify participant's capacity to respect diversity)
  8. Scenario: A friend has disclosed to you that she has left her partner, and he has been charged with assault towards her. She is having second thoughts and is questioning if she has done the right thing in calling the police.

    How would you respond to this situation? (Goal: to assess participant's ability to identify some of the key issues in dealing with women assault)
  9. What are some things that you do to take care of yourself? (Goal: Identify participant's ability to balance her own needs with needs of peers)

Expectations of Participants (Contract)

  • Attend eight 3-hour information training sessions. There will be one session a week for eight weeks.
  • Attend one additional, 2 hour evaluation follow-up session approximately 3 weeks after the completion of the eight week training and information sessions.
  • Keep the confidentiality of peers.*
  • Respect the perspectives of equality and diversity.

Appendix "B" p. 4

  • Acknowledge that the safety of peers and self is a primary concern, and take no unnecessary risks
  • The peer PLEI providers will ensure a reasonable amount of "time off" for themselves.
  • To continue to meet and support each other for a minimum of six months following the training and information sessions.

* Confidentiality means that information received or observed about a community member, a client, or a community/client group will be held in confidence and disclosed only when the peer volunteer is properly authorized in writing or obligated legally to do so.
-Adapted from the Social Work Code of Ethics

Dated at Sault Ste. Marie this     day of    , 2003.



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