Domestic Violence and Abuse

Domestic abuse is about the misuse of power and the exercise of control within a relationship. It is most often experienced by women from someone they know, usually a man. This could be a partner, carer, friend or family member.

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.

This definition, which is not a legal definition, includes so called ‘honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage, and is clear that victims are not confined to one gender or ethnic group.

Incidence:

  • 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men experiencing it at some point in their lives.
  • One incident of domestic violence is reported to the police every minute.
  • On average, 2 women a week are killed by a current or former male partner.

Anyone can experience domestic abuse as it occurs regardless of age, class, race, social group, sexuality, disability or lifestyle.

The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:

  • psychological
  • physical
  •  sexual
  •  financial
  •  emotional

Long term consequences can be serious including disability, physical injuries, mental illness and in some cases, death.

Domestic Abuse and Children

All children are impacted when they live in a home where there is domestic abuse/violence. The impact will vary from child to child and will be dependent on the extent of the abuse, the length of time it goes on for and the age of the child. The younger the child when the abuse starts the longer lasting the impact.

People often say that the children were in bed or not in the house and therefore they do not know it has happened.

Even if they are asleep or away they will see the after effects, feel the tension and instinctively know that something has happened. It is frightening, confusing and upsetting for them. Some will learn that abusive behaviour is normal and then go on to be abusive themselves or be in an abusive relationship.

There is a strong link between growing up in a home where there is abuse and substance misuse, mental health and poor life chances in teenage and adulthood.

Effects on children:

  • Fear, low self-esteem, anger, distrust and anxiety
  • Bed wetting, nightmares and sleep deprivation
  • Being bullied or becoming bullies
  • Being physically hurt
  • Feels isolated and withdraws
  • Self harm, drug misuse and alcohol
  • Emotionally torn between their parents
  • Does poorly at school, cannot concentrate or is disruptive
  • Depression and eating disorders

Children living with domestic violence are also at serious risk and may experience life-long psychological effects. Homelessness, poverty, isolation, disruption to employment and education are all common issues facing those surviving domestic violence.

Whilst local statistics show that domestic violence continues to be a significant problem in Warwickshire they also showing  that agencies have been working effectively to protect and support victims, bring perpetrators to justice and reduce the incidence of domestic violence. This has been through improved awareness of domestic abuse through training and support.

Assessment of Domestic Abuse- tools

When carrying out a risk assessment of domestic violence using the Safelives-DASH Risk Identification Checklist (http://www.safelives.org.uk/practice-support/resources-identifying-risk-victims-face) staff may determine that a child / adult / family is at high risk as a result of the domestic violence and abuse disclosed. In this case all staff should consider completion of a referral to Warwickshire Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC).

MARAC

MARAC is a victim focused meeting where information is shared between partner agencies on the highest risk cases of domestic abuse and violence. A risk focused, coordinated safety plan is then drawn up to support the victim and his / her family. Cases discussed at MARAC will be shared with relevant services, if there needs to be further advice and support provided by that service. In light of the existence of high risk of domestic violence and known risks and vulnerability factors disclosed at MARAC, the expectation is that each service will review the family’s needs and in accordance with the additional needs identified, provide an appropriate follow up service.

Referrals can be made, and are encouraged, by any agency which identifies a victim of domestic abuse as being high risk. The formal risk identification tool (DASH) should be completed by the referring agency and upon meeting the MARAC threshold for high risk, the MARAC referral form should be sent to the MARAC Coordinator using the following routes:

If the referrer has secure email, then send to:

MARAC email address warwickshiremaracreferrals@refuge.cjsm.net all referrals will be processed in the usual manner.

If the referrer does not have secure email, then the referrer should ring the MARAC Coordinator as below to obtain the password for the relevant MARAC. The referral should then be sent in a password protected zip file to:

Email: warwickshiremaracreferrals@refuge.org.uk

If there is an urgent concern and you need to discuss a MARAC case please call and request to talk to Kaylee Linton the deputy service manager for DVSW on 07921409772 or kaylee_linton@refuge.org.uk or please contact the MARAC Coordinator – Hayley Whitfield on Telephone – 07464928745 or email hayley_whitfield@refuge.org.uk.

Further information regarding services for victims of domestic abuse can be found here:

Domestic Homicide Reviews

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