The Local Government Association guidance on adult safeguarding gives a very clear account of the interface between adult safeguarding whose focus is on adults at risk and domestic abuse which relates to any adult living in a household setting subject to abuse from a family member.
The definition of domestic abuse is:
any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass, but is not limited to the following types of abuse:
Family members are defined as: mother; father; son; daughter; brother; sister; and grandparents, whether directly related, in-laws or step-family.
Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.
Coercive behaviour is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.
Domestic abuse includes so called honour' based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage. It is clear that victims are not confined to one gender or ethnic group.'
Examples of coercive and controlling behaviour might be the destruction of property, isolation from friends, family or other potential sources of support, preventing or controlling access to money, personal items, food, transportation and the telephone, and stalking.
It is recognised that the desire to exert power and control underpins the majority of domestic abuse, which takes place, and that abuse is usually inflicted to achieve this end.
Most domestic abuse is perpetrated by men against women, and this policy will provide guidance on safeguarding children and adults who are involved with abuse. Domestic abuse can also be perpetrated by women against men, within same sex relationships, and to or from a child or adult a carer may be caring for.
Violence against women and men is both a form of discrimination and a violation of the human rights. It is both a cause and consequence of gender inequality and is one of the most serious inequalities facing women and girls in Salford today. Violence can occur in a range of settings: at home, on the street, on public transport and within a range of relationships. Violence can exist between family members and partners to complete strangers. In the majority of cases, the abused person knows the abuser.
A list of different forms of domestic abuse is available at the bottom of this page. The government has published guidance on forced marriage.
Adults at risk are by definition more vulnerable in a domestic abuse situation than most adults without any significant disability (e.g. learning disability, physical disability, mental health condition that is sufficiently significant to warrant a need for support to maintain everyday living) as the impact of their disability makes it much more likely they will be able to seek advice or help, or in some cases even recognise they are subject to abuse.
Local measures to address domestic abuse
In Salford, we have Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (MARAC) to facilitate a more proactive approach in high risk cases. There is, however, a long way to go in effectively tackling domestic abuse, which accounts for 16% to 25% of all violent crime and is consistently the second highest reason for homelessness presentations in Salford.
MARAC (Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference). The purpose of MARAC is to consider information from all agencies on domestic abuse cases that have been identified as meeting set criteria on a risk matrix as high risk. The conference will assess the information and decide on an action plan to attempt to intervene and prevent further abuse and protect both adults and children within the home.
All agencies are working towards better information sharing, so that the safety of the victim and their children is their prime consideration. The MARAC process encourages this and for continuity are chaired by the Police PPIU (Public Protection Investigation Unit) Inspectors across Greater Manchester. The PPIU unit has a local team in each Police division who deal with the three strands of public protection investigative work, so that links between adult protection, safeguarding children and domestic abuse are made.
Where an adult at risk is subject to abuse, the abuse is being perpetrated by a family member and the risk to the adult is assessed by the worker to be high, in addition to initiating the adult safeguarding process, a referral should also be made to MARAC in line with government recommended best practice
Staff should be aware that MARACs and adult safeguarding conferences often comprise different partner agencies and work in different ways drawing on different resources and perspectives so although it might appear on the surface that some duplication may be going on, this is not the case. It is essential that where adults at risk meet the criteria for both adult safeguarding and MARAC that both processes are used to maximise their ongoing safety from further abuse
Risk assessment and referral to MARAC
All cases referred to MARAC must be risk assessed. The DASH risk assessment is a 23 point assessment used to establish the level of risk from the victims perspective.
Frontline staff are expected to understand the complexities involved in domestic abuse cases and use the risk assessment in order to access support services for women who are affected. As such staff should ensure that they attend the relevant single agency and multi-agency training on domestic abuse.
The agencies, which attend MARAC, and which include the police, children's services, adult social care, health, SIDASS Salford Independent Domestic Abuse Support Service and housing regularly discuss the referral criteria. Since the Salford MARAC began there have been changes made to certain criteria and to the risk assessment, which are key to the referral itself.
The current criteria for referral to MARAC are:
- Several recent incidents (three incidents in three months)
- 14 ticks on the DASH risk assessment
- Reports of one serious incident either by disclosure to an agency or directly to the police
- Professional judgment (whilst the 3 above criteria are very clear indicators, it is acknowledged there will be cases that do not meet any of those thresholds but there are other factors that a professional involved may be aware of that make them significantly worried for the safety of the individual and therefore there is always scope for a professional to refer into MARAC with the detail of what their concerns are even if for example there are not 14 ticks on the DASH)
Where frontline staff complete a DASH assessment, the points score is under the 14 point threshold and the professional does not have the same significant level of concern outlined immediately above the DASH should be forwarded to the Salford Independent Domestic Abuse Support Service.
SIDASS are responsible for the support of victims of domestic violence and will consider if they can offer any support in the circumstances.
Where the criteria are met, this indicates a need for consideration by the MARAC. The worker should forward their DASH assessments to the MARAC lead for their organisation. The MARAC lead is responsible for collating other relevant agency information about the individuals involved and uploading the assessment to the MARAC SharePoint website to ensure the case is added to the next MARAC agenda NB If you do not know the MARAC lead for your organisation you can contact the MARAC co-coordinator team on MARAC@gmp.police.uk to find out who the lead is.
NB In adult social care, the DASH risk assessment should be forwarded by the worker to the Adult Health and Social Care Contact Team inbox, marking MARAC in the subject box, who will then undertake the uploading into the MARAC SharePoint. Before forwarding the DASH risk assessment the worker should discuss their referral with either their team manager or advanced practitioner who should read the DASH risk assessment to ensure the referral is appropriate in the circumstances and does reasonably meet the criteria.
Check with your employer to see what Domestic Abuse training they offer. This could be face to face or e-learning. Salford Safeguarding Children's Partnership provide multi-agency training on domestic abuse.
National 24 Hour Freephone
Telephone: 0808 2000 247
Salford Helpline (SIDASS)
Telephone: 0161 793 3232
Police Domestic Abuse Unit
Telephone: 0161 856 5171
Broken Rainbow LGBT
Telephone: 0800 999 5428
Telephone: 0808 801 0327
Details of all the latest news from Salford Safeguarding Adults Board.