Archive for November, 2012

November 20, 2012

A Place of Greater Safety – Insights 1

It was a proud moment today when we published our first major policy report ‘A Place of Greater Safety’, using data collected by domestic abuse practitioners all around the country.  It is important because:

  1. It includes data from about 2500 victims and their children – highlighting the type of abuse they suffer and putting the real experience of victims at the heart of our recommendations, of practice and of policy.
  2. It makes the case for mainstreaming funding for IDVAs and MARACs
  3. It shows how putting IDVAs in hospital settings could help identify 10,000 high risk victims and their children who are getting no support today
  4. It includes the first substantial information on the abuse suffered by teenagers – a group who will become more visible with the change in the definition of domestic abuse to include 16 and 17 year olds.
  5. It highlights the impact of domestic abuse on children and gives commissioners simple actions to address this.
  6. It is aimed at local commissioners – those with the responsibility and the funding to address the problems.
  7. It gives clear objective evidence which we hope will underpin local and national policy.
  8. And it is part of a body of data that is growing every year so there is CAADA Insights 2, 2013 to look forward to!

I would really like to thank those practitioners who use the CAADA Insights service and our early funders who had the vision to back this approach before its benefits and value were really visible.  And also the fantastic team at CAADA who have worked day (and all too often at night) to put this together.

Please make sure your local commissioners know that this is now available – it could make all the difference.  You can download the report from our website at http://bit.ly/XkJXy6

Despite my best efforts #aPOGS may not be trending yet on Twitter…but there is still time….

November 17, 2012

Measurement – what, why and for whom?

The latest NPC newsletter highlighted comments from Francis Maude about the importance of impact measurement (you can read the original here: Minister urges embedding of impact at NPC conference http://bit.ly/QOphf7 ) by charities hoping to compete for local authority contracts.  The article goes on to point out that about half of charities have increased their measurement in order to meet the needs of their funders, and only 5% with the aim of improving their services – although 25% said it did improve their services.

At CAADA we care a lot about information, evidence and measurement – indeed our Insights service works with about 100 practitioners across 20 service providers to collect information directly from service users.  Of course we see a value in ‘meeting the needs of funders’ but we see a MUCH bigger value in understanding how the profile of different service users differs, what interventions are effective, how this learning can be shared across multiple small service providers, and how it can be used to shape commissioning and policy.  It is in the ALIGNMENT of all these actors that we achieve real change for beneficiaries – ensuring that all use exactly the same data to inform their decisions and ensuring that the service user’s experience drives the whole process and encourages the improvements in practice and innovation that we all wish to see.  For more about Insights, see the Commissioners page on our website. (CAADA: domestic abuse service commissioners – domestic violence service commissioning – outcomes measurement http://bit.ly/XkJXy6 )

So the WHAT we measure, is information that is useful to practitioners or it won’t be collected consistently.  The WHY we measure is to help us understand better what works, how to shape our response and what good commissioning looks like.  The FOR WHOM we measure is for beneficiaries – to be sure that we spend our resources in the way that achieves the best outcomes for them.  And if we do all these things we will have aligned the interests of practitioners, service managers, funders, commissioners and policy makers to focus on what is good for the beneficiary.  End of lecture.

November 3, 2012

This case raises some interesting issues and questions. You do need to read it all below but my questions included:
1. Why is counselling preferable to a probation order that would focus on the specific behaviours associated with domestic abuse?
2. Was the ‘root cause’ of the violence Mr Wilson’s drinking? Was this the only incident?
3. Was it correct that Mrs Wilson had not reported any other incidents because there weren’t any? Or for any other reason…..

UK Human Rights Blog

Irene Wilson v. The United Kingdom (Application no. 10601/09) – read admissibility decision

Sadly barely a month seems to go by without a report in the media about the police and the justice system failing to protect the victims of domestic violence.

The Strasbourg Court  has been required on a number of occasions to assess whether the response of domestic authorities to domestic violence has been compatible with their positive obligations under Article 8 (right to respect for  family and private life) of the Convention.  Given that such individuals are of a particular vulnerability, Strasbourg has repeatedly emphasised the need for active state involvement in their protection. However, in this particular admissibility decision, the Court held that the Northern Irish authorities had not failed in their duty under the Convention to protect the applicant.

Background Facts

The applicant, Irene Wilson, was assaulted by her husband after they had been out…

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November 1, 2012

Risk Assessment in Domestic Violence – Bringing the focus onto perpetrators

There was a helpful article in Community Care last month, written by Thangam Debonnaire (who is a real expert in this area) about the use of risk assessments in domestic abuse.  It highlights the role of MARAC, the importance of not holding the victim responsible for the abuse and the need for multi-agency training on risk.  We have always talked about a ‘common language of risk’, meaning that all front line professionals would recognise all risk factors – not just those linked to their profession.  Thus, midwives would see not just pregnancy but also separation as a risk, and police officers would see not just weapons but also extreme levels of control.

It also raises the following important point: “It is also important that practitioners focus less on the victim’s agency and behaviour and more on those of the perpetrator, and for risk management and multi-agency work to include engaging with perpetrators through programmes and other interventions that support both victims and perpetrators in change.”

Lack of engagement with perpetrators is a constant feature in all our work and one that organisations such as Respect have worked hard to get us all to focus on.  It would be really interesting to hear of any local examples – either single agency or multi-agency – that you have used to improve engagement and what you feel the results have been – particularly within the MARAC context.  Thanks in advance for your help!

If you want to read the full article, go to http://www.communitycare.co.uk/Articles/03/10/2012/118483/what-research-says-about-domestic-violence-risk-assessments.htm