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Current service in relation to need

Adults :: Domestic Abuse :: Current service in relation to need

Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conferencing (MARAC)

The role of the MARAC is to facilitate, monitor and evaluate effective information sharing to enable appropriate actions to be taken to increase public safety. It combines up to date risk information with a comprehensive assessment of the victim's needs and links those directly to the provision of services for all those involved in a case: victim, children and perpetrator. The victim does not attend the meeting, nor does the perpetrator or the crown prosecution service. The victim will be represented by the Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA).

The MARAC coordinator is currently funded by Kent Police. The Medway MARAC is supported by multi agency partners across Medway including Kent Police, Children's Social Care, Kent Probation, Adult Social Care, Mental Health, Housing and both statutory and voluntary partners. They provide joint multi-agency, safety planning for victims assessed as being high risk. The MARAC is overseen by a Kent Police employed MARAC Supervisor and governed by the multi-agency Domestic Abuse Tactical Group.

The MARAC receives multi-agency referrals, this fluctuates during the year but on average Kent Police referrals account for 78% of them. In 2017/18, the repeat victimisation rate was 34%, which is above the benchmark set by Coordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse (CAADA) of 28% but within the range of 28-40% repeat cases suggested by SafeLives nationally. The MARAC is at capacity, discussing on average 145 cases per quarter for 2017/18 - this is significantly higher than the 2013/14 figures of 87 cases per quarter. The higher numbers may be reflecting the change in delivery model whereby Medway moved to a weekly meeting rather than the monthly meetings that take place across Kent.

The MARAC in Medway, unlike other MARACs in the county, are held on a weekly basis. This change was implemented in 2015 after multi-agency workshops and consultations with partner agencies were held. The core principals of these workshops and consultations were to explore how to improve the overall efficiency and accountability of MARAC, whilst also addressing the ever increasing case load. The MARAC in Medway is extremely well attended and multi-agency representation is appropriately diverse, leading to the Medway MARAC being considered an example of best practice to other MARACs.

Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs).

Choices deliver the Medway IDVA contract. The IDVAs support victims of domestic abuse through the MARAC process as the independent voice of the victim and provide support through the Specialist Domestic Violence Court (SDVC), One Stop Shops (OSS) providing risk assessments, individual safety support plans (ISSP), multi-agency working and developing action plans for both the victim and children. The IDVAs also support a newly established Kent Police domestic abuse board which works to support medium risk victims not eligible for MARAC referral.

In 2017/18, the IDVA service received 531 referrals which resulted in an 89% engagement rate. In 2017/18, 84% of clients reported a feeling of reduction in risk, which is a successful outcome against the CAADA benchmark of 63%.

One Stop Shop (OSS)

The OSS is overseen by Medway Domestic Abuse Forum and is part funded by Medway Community Safety Partnership. Based at the Sunlight Centre and well established within the community, this offers anonymity for clients and offers free, practical support from a range of agencies. Operating on a Tuesday morning, any victim of domestic abuse can access the service and speak to multi-agency partners. These include an IDVA, Health Visitor, Floating Support Worker, Solicitor and Citizens Advice Worker for welfare, housing and debt. Further agencies are currently being identified to support the OSS. The Kent Fire and Rescue Service now support the OSS, providing advice and direct referrals to their home safety assessment. This is a strength-based approach, promoting empowerment of individuals and providing practical and emotional support.

Freedom Programme

The freedom programme is a 12-week nationally recognised programme, which offers an insight into the behaviour and tactics of the abuser. Medway has consistently offered all victims of domestic abuse a place on a course, currently funded by Medway Council and operated through All Saints Children's Centre.

Support2Court

Sateeda successfully bid for a Tampon Tax grant. This will provide funding to deliver a Support2Court programme, which includes Medway courts, and supports those who are attending family court without a legal representative. This reduces the need for a support worker or IDVA to attend, therefore reducing their workload.

Domestic Homicide Reviews

Lessons Learnt Seminars take place to share learning from some of the Domestic Homicide Reviews (DHRs) that have been commissioned and completed by the Medway and Kent Community Support Partnership (CSP), since they became a statutory requirement in April 2011. These events are aimed at frontline practitioners and/or those agencies that may come into contact with or deal with victims of domestic abuse. The seminars enable attendees to have the chance to hear from the Independent Chairs, who present their key findings and discuss the recommendations from each review and any lessons learnt. Multi-agency partners also hear from some of the key agencies who have contributed to the reviews about what they have done in response to the recommendations.

Three seminars took place in 2017/18. The most recent DHR Lessons Learnt Seminar was well attended by multi-agency partners across Medway and Kent and provided an opportunity to share good practice as well as learn from previous lessons. The Kent and Medway Domestic Homicide Review Steering Group retains ownership of all county DHR's and is attended by, and part funded through, the Medway and Kent CSP. The learning from DHRs are disseminated through events across the county and always include a Medway setting.

Domestic Abuse Notification

The Domestic Abuse Notification (DAN) was piloted in 2013 and, due to its success, was rolled out in February 2014 throughout Medway. The DAN is received from Kent Police and all domestic abuse is screened by Kent Police staff in the central referral unit. The criteria for this are as follows:


• High risk domestic abuse: Children up to the age of 17 are shared via an urgent DAN direct to children's social services.
• Medium risk domestic abuse: Children up to the age of 17 years are shared via DAN.
• Standard risk domestic abuse: Children unborn and up to 1 year are shared via DAN.

The information on the notification includes the child and siblings' details, parental details and others involved in the situation, details of the incident, any additional information or concerns, previous relevant history and the current situation.

Domestic abuse Awareness for Youth (DAY) programme

DAY is a unique multimedia programme that uses short films, advertisements and chart music to raise awareness and provide education about domestic abuse and child sexual exploitation in a relevant and exciting way. It challenges detrimental mindsets about abuse and exploitation, explores how beliefs inform behaviour, and looks at the role of the media in reinforcing unhealthy beliefs.

It is based on the Freedom Programme and is designed to be used with young people over the age of 14, although it can be adapted for use with young people over 11 years. DAY is delivered by Medway Council Integrated Family and Youth Support Service.

Victim Support

Victim Support has specialist teams that deliver tailored support to help people recover from the effects of crime and traumatic events. Victim Support helps anyone affected by crime, not only those who experience it directly, but also their friends, family and any other people involved. Victim Support is an independent charity, so clients can talk to Victim Support whether or not they reported the crime to the police, and their support is free and confidential.

Training

Multi-agency training on domestic abuse is delivered by the MCSB (Medway Safeguarding Children Board). A full day's multi-agency training focuses on domestic abuse, prevalence, elder abuse, children witnessing domestic abuse, teenage domestic abuse and forced marriage and honour based violence. Following on from this training, participants can opt for a further half a day training on using the DASH domestic abuse, stalking, harassment and honour based violence risk assessment tool.