Archive for November 1st, 2012

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