Posts tagged ‘Safeguarding’

January 29, 2014

The Early Intervention Foundation Review – Our First Thoughts – and a chance to discuss with the authors at our conference

The Early Intervention Foundation published its Domestic Violence and Abuse Review today with a number of interesting recommendations and some pretty strongly worded views – all based on really thorough research.  Early Intervention is such a crucial topic in our field and so we welcome their work very warmly.  It also referenced our Children’s Insights service which is gathering terrific data on the experience of domestic abuse for children (including a lot of direct feedback from children themselves) and the impact of the Children’s IDVA on their safety and well being.  

Anyway, there will be lots more information about the findings from Children’s Insights at our conference on the 26th February and the EIF are kindly leading a workshop to explore their findings in more detail.  (For more info about our conference go to http://www.caada.org.uk/events )

Thought 1: Thank you for being so blunt.  

In the opening section of the Recommendations (p 91), the authors write about domestic violence and abuse in the following terms: “Its scale is such that it is vital that concerted action is taken across a very wide range of agencies at national and local levels.” We can only agree.

Thought 2: Yes! Please do proper evaluation of new approaches.  

There is a clear call for new approaches to have robust evaluation whether this be in relation to perpetrator work, or the revised Family Nurse Partnership with the IPV (inter-personal violence) intervention. We are really interested in both – but especially drawn to the FNP + IPV (apart from the prospect of another acronym…) with the potential to work with both young parents and their child.  Having spent this morning looking at cases of domestic abuse involving teenagers aged 16 and 17, these sorts of interventions can’t come soon enough.

Thought 3: We welcome the challenge of working with the whole family.  

The report focuses on the need to include an awareness of DV within all support for families, couples and relationships.  As a sector, we often side-step the need to work with the whole family – leaving women and their children with little support if they decide to stay in a relationship.  If we can’t make this work – whether at an early intervention stage – or later on in an abusive relationship – we will be failing many women, men and children.  

Thought 4: The voluntary sector and grant making foundations have an important role to play.  

The report understandably focuses on the role of Government in leading change.  We would also highlight the potential for the charities in the field – both operational and funders – to do the same.  We are close to the experience of victims and children and perpetrators of domestic abuse and should use this to build on the evidence provided in the EIF report to lead the improvement in services.

Thought 5: We can overcome the barriers to professional confidence to act among Early Intervention practitioners.

I was very struck recently at a meeting where an Early Intervention practitioner stated: “we have the best training, and best procedures but no one has the confidence to act.”  The report confirms this, citing Brandon’s research on the implementation of the Common Assessment Framework and other interviews.  We firmly believe that training helps, procedures help but without a named and known person who you can refer on to, referrals won’t happen. Hence our focus on co-location of IDVAs in maternity and A&E wards, and now I hear in one or two places linked to schools.  This clear ‘care pathway’ is the difference between a sound response in theory and a sound response in practice.

November 9, 2013

Making the Links….DV and Safeguarding

I am slightly appalled that my ‘weekly’ blog has slipped to a ‘6 weekly’ event but won’t make excuses – rather just try and get started again.

Various things came together this week about our work which I just wanted to capture here.  In general, following a number of serious case reviews (Daniel Pelka, Baby T and others), it seems like we still can’t take for granted that the two issues of domestic abuse and risk to children will be systematically linked in practice.  We are really clear that whenever there is domestic abuse identified, we need to look for risk to children – whatever the level of risk to the mother.  Research by my former colleague Emma Howarth, showed that the risk of harm to children is not neatly correlated with the risk to the parent, and that children living with ‘standard’ risk domestic abuse can still be very vulnerable to physical and psychological harm.

So what were the things that I would like to highlight here:

1. It is all about the quality of implementation – 1: the Baby T Serious Case Review highlighted ‘poor implementation of the Hackney model’ and we frequently see variable implementation of the MARAC model, when agency representatives change or funding is cut.  If in doubt about what fidelity to the model looks like for the IDVA-MARAC approach, please do look at the resources on our website, talk to our team or contact our help desk.  We hope that everything we recommend is practical and do-able.

2. It is all about the quality of Implementation -2: a call to Commissioners: there are clear, independently verified, standards for risk led services through our Leading Lights programme and a robust outcomes measurement service that we provide through our Insights Programme.  These two tools can give you confidence that the funding you are making in this area is effective, and that the services provided meet the standards achieved in other regions.  Our MARAC team are working across all MARACs to support them in ensuring that local implementation stays faithful to the evaluated model.

3. The smallest possible thing to make the biggest possible difference: I was really struck by the simplicity and potential impact of Operation Encompass, where schools are notified in the morning when there has been a police call out for domestic abuse.  It would be great to hear from areas who are using this – it sounds a terrific idea.  Presumably this could extend to children’s centres too to cover younger children?

Lastly, I just hope – as I am sure all of you do too – that this is the ‘tipping point’ when DV and safeguarding stop being so siloed and that we do all make those links.

 

January 30, 2012

Protecting Our Children – a snapshot from Children’s Social Workers

Interesting suggestion for my blog from the Head of Services at Berkshire East and South Bucks Women’s Aid, Delia Donovan – which coincides with the broadcast tonight on the BBC of a new series about social workers in Bristol called ‘Protecting Our Children’.  If you get a chance to watch it, please do comment here or via Twitter or the CAADA Facebook page.  We are working with 3 other organisations, on a new tool for IDVAs to help identify opportunities for earlier intervention and support for children living with domestic abuse, substance misuse and mental health issues.  It is still in draft but I will write more here about it when it is ready.

Anyway, see below for the latest results from a survey of social workers – not surprising but troubling all the same.

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June 7, 2011

Fall in child abuse deaths – is something working?

Fall in child abuse deaths

The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies newsletter highlighted recent research from the University of Warwick. This reveals that child deaths related to assault have fallen from an average of three a week in 1974 to one a week in 2008. Peter Sidebotham, who led the study, says that this is due to the child protection register, to the formalization of the protection of vulnerable children, to better support for vulnerable families and to a general growing public awareness of children’s needs. Click here http://press.psprings.co.uk/adc/may/adc207647.pdf <http://press.psprings.co.uk/adc/may/adc207647.pdf>  to read the research.

March 28, 2011

Continuing Professional Development – New Steps for our sector

Some of you who know me well will have listened to me talk wistfully about a CPD programme for our sector.  The feedback we get from practitioners who attend our foundation training for IDVAs is really positive- but until now we have not had a way of building on this and developing the skills and practice of our sector still further.  UNTIL NOW!!  I am really proud to announce our new CPD programme which was launched earlier this month with a specialist module on safeguarding children living with domestic abuse, accredited with the University of Bath.

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