Posts tagged ‘domestic violence rule’

June 10, 2012

Themis – Locating IDVAs in hospitals

We had our first meeting on Friday with the six organisations who are going to be the research sites for our hospital based IDVA evaluation.  They are the IDVA team in Addenbrookes (Cambridge), Advance, the IDVA team in Bristol Royal Infirmary (who sadly couldn’t attend), North Devon WA, Victim Support in Newcastle and Worth Services.  As is always the case with these meetings, it is just so refreshing to hear from the different IDVAs, their managers and clinical champions about their work.  And, as is always the case, I learnt a lot.

The things that struck me most were:

1. The incredible determination and commitment of those involved.  It is only a slight exaggeration to say that some IDVAs are close to camping on a chair in the corridor of A&E, waiting for their opportunity to integrate with the process.

2. What a difference it makes to have a clinical champion and someone to advocate for the approach with the management of the hospital so that it is quickly embedded and integrated.

3. How much training is needed for clinical staff – it sounded endless in order to cope with high levels of staff turnover and low levels of DV awareness. Also the inconsistencies between one trust where DV training is mandatory and its neighbour in the room where it is not.

4. How in every single case, just the presence of the IDVAs in the hospital makes such a difference in terms of numbers of disclosures, and how many of these victims are unknown to any other agency.  I haven’t doubted that this is a wise approach – but it is really reassuring to hear again how true it is and how complementary to existing services.

5. Finally, the need to make the case for this work to public health commissioners in particular is acute.  More work to do…..

November 30, 2011

How to scale up social enterprise – A Synergistic Model of Scale — Social Edge

I thought that the article below from Social Edge, was really interesting and worth thinking about for all of us involved in delivering solutions to social problems.  We can see around us examples of quick, government funded responses and also many small social entreprises which struggle to scale up.  In our world, how do we help grow the best of the local work from domestic abuse services?  How do we build the best feedback loop into our MARAC work?  I will try and answer some of these questions but would love your thoughts!

A Synergistic Model of Scale

Hosted by Eric Glustrom (November 2011)

incorporating solutions

As the social change agents of our time, we keep our eyes peeled for any opportunity to grasp that idolized holy grail of social entrepreneurship: a sustainable, market-based approach to scale. However, especially for many Social Edge readers, it’s easy to let advocacy – the process of scaling a solution through policy change or partnership with larger institutions – slip into the distance.

Consider the following diagram:
Synergy
The social enterprise is the wedge, driving forward its solution. It has a few paths to scale:

read more »

November 23, 2011

New Research from NSPCC and Refuge on Children living with Domestic Abuse in London

Important new research has been published by the NSPCC and Refuge today on the situation for children and young people living with domestic abuse in London.  It is still the case that the researchers highlight the following main findings:

    1. There are significant gaps in services addressing the needs of children and young people living with domestic violence in London.
    2. Some of the most vulnerable children and young people are the least likely to be able to access help when they need it. There should be a stronger emphasis on equality of access to help for children and young people, regardless of their ethnicity, age, gender, disability or parental immigration status.
    3. Children are rarely given opportunities to express their own views, and some professionals are reluctant to talk directly with children and young people and to involve them in decisions which affect them.
The research also comments on the use of the risk assessment and points out rightly that the focus is largely on the adult victim.  Perhaps it is timely to say that we are working on a triage tool that can be used not just in cases involving domestic abuse, but also substance misuse and mental health problems, to permit early identification of children who have needs that are not being met.  I hope too that our safeguarding CPD course goes some way to starting to bridge some of the gaps identified in the report.
And we really welcome the focus on the triage system, especially with health based IDVAs which can permit identification of abuse earlier and support to be offered in a really timely and effective way.  You can read the research at http://www.nspcc.org.uk/Inform/research/findings/domestic_violence_london_pdf_wdf85830.pdf
October 26, 2011

Doubly depressing this time?

I have just finished reading the IPCC report into the police handling of the domestic abuse incidents involving Casey Brittle prior to her murder in October 2010.  It is pretty depressing reading in any context – a litany of missed opportunities to identify the risks she faced as a woman of 21, with a small child.  There were 11 incidents of domestic abuse involving her ex partner Sanchez Williams – who had ‘an extensive criminal record and warnings on the Police National Computer for violence’ – interesting in the context of the DV Disclosure Scheme proposal (see earlier post on Clare’s Law). Would these convictions meet the criteria for disclosure?

Other than a feeling of puzzlement that such apparently obvious signs were missed – Casey Brittle’s own expression of fear, multiple incidents, assaults in a public place with CCTV footage – and a reality check about being wise after the event, I am left with three other thoughts – none very uplifting.

Firstly, we do get some pushback on the guidance we give about using the CAADA DASH risk checklist in every case involving domestic abuse.  People ask us – every case?  Really?  Reading the IPCC report the answer is yes.  There is an understandable effort on the part of the police, led by ACPO, to reduce bureaucracy and use of the domestic abuse risk checklist has been highlighted as an area where ‘streamlining’ could be brought in.  Streamlining is being piloted in a few force areas at the moment.  It involves use of the checklist only in case involving intimate partner violence – or ex-intimate partner, and only when a crime has been committed or where there is a repeat incident of domestic abuse.  We can see the logic of the first point but have major concerns about the second two elements.  You only need to read the IPCC report to see why.  In a case like Casey Brittle, there are numerous examples of the victim not disclosing the full extent of the situation to the attending officer, and thus no crime being recorded and even failing to log it as a domestic abuse incident.  This means that the ‘repeat’ safety net does not work either.  It feels like we might be about to take a giant step backwards if this is adopted nationally.

The second thought is that there is no record in the IPCC report of Casey Brittle being offered specialist support from an IDVA, or other trained DV practitioner until the very end when Victim Support are recorded as checking whether she had given consent to be contacted.  There should be no confusion about this – there is so much research stressing the need to offer victims independent support and that this can make all the difference in terms of their safety.  Especially, in high risk cases, the contact should be speedy and proactive.

Finally, the report comments on the gatekeeping that took place to contain the number of cases that went to MARAC at no more than 40 per month.  Those of you who have undertaken our MARAC Quality Assurance process will know what we feel about this!  It is essential that we find the resources to allow all high risk victims to have their cases heard at MARAC – although extraordinarily, Casey Brittle was never categorised as high risk despite her expressions of fear, her partner’s criminal record, use of weapons, separation, and threats to kill…

And that just brings me back to using the risk checklist systematically again.  It is just a series of prompts to check on the main risk factors for repeat victimisation and homicide.  No more – no less.  But very important.

July 20, 2011

Good news from Rights of Women on Legal Aid

I received this email from Rights of Women who have done a great job of advocating for change in the legal aid proposals in relation to cases brought under the Domestic Violence rule.

Dear all,

I write with excellent news that the Government has agreed to bring cases brought under the domestic violence rule back into the scope of legal aid within the proposals set out in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill. The statement from the Legal Aid Minister, Jonathan Djanogly MP, was made yesterday 19 July during the sixth sitting of the Public Bill Committee in response to a question raised by the Conservative Party MP, Ben Gummer:

read more »