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PRESS STATEMENT: Monday 2 July 2012
National roll out of development programme for Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (MARACs)
More victims of high risk domestic abuse will receive support following the roll out of a new development programme for MARACs, delivered by the national domestic abuse charity Co-ordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse (CAADA) and funded by the Home Office until 2015. This national launch follows a successful pilot in three regions during 2011-2012.
Over the past six years MARACs have become an effective means of supporting the highest risk cases of domestic abuse, and the number of adult victims helped has increased by 53% since 2009. In the past 12 months, 261 MARACs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland reviewed over 55,000 high risk domestic abuse cases, equivalent to around 42,000 adults (1). Research shows that, following intervention by a MARAC and an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA), up to 60% of domestic abuse victims report no further violence. Because they are so effective, CAADA estimates that for every £1 spent on MARACs, a further £6 can be saved (2).
As part of the new programme, dedicated CAADA MARAC Development Officers will provide tailored, local support to every MARAC in England and Wales. One-to-one assistance for local professionals will be given, along with performance and data analysis, guidance with self-assessment, a dedicated helpdesk and networking events. To build strategic support, the officers will help demonstrate the value of MARACs to local strategic bodies including Police and Crime Commissioners, clinical commissioning groups, Health and Wellbeing Boards and Local Safeguarding Children's Boards. CAADA will continue to provide new resources, publications and policy briefings to practitioners, as well as guiding the strategic development of MARACs across England and Wales through the UK's National MARAC Steering Group.
CAADA's Head of Services, Christine Christie, said: “We are really excited to be launching this programme on a national basis. We know that MARACs can make a huge difference to the lives of victims and their children, and that many more can be supported provided MARACs have the resources and support that they need to undertake this vital work. For this reason we're looking forward to working with local MARAC professionals to help them provide a consistent, quality response to domestic abuse in their area.”
Karen*, 41, from Bristol, suffered years of physical violence from her partner and threats to her and her children, before she was referred to MARAC by her IDVA. Agencies quickly put together a coordinated package of measures to support her to live safely in her home. “The locks were changed and a CCTV camera installed which enabled me to monitor who was coming up to the house,” says Karen. “Alarms were fitted on my windows and new toughened safety glass installed on the door. The police and health agencies flagged my file so that if ever there was an emergency, immediate help would arrive,” she says. “I also got very good support through my GP, who made sure I was on the right anti-depressants and offered me counselling.”
Three years on, Karen's life is completely changed. “My children are so happy now. They come and go as they please and we joke and laugh together a lot. We'd never have been able to do this before. I've got my freedom and my life back, and for that I'll always be so grateful.”
(1) Visit CAADA's MARAC data for more information.
(2) CAADA collects data from over 260 MARACs nationally and in particular has scrutinised the repeat victimisation statistics in more detail for those MARACs going through the CAADA Quality Assurance process. This confirms that at an average of six months after the MARAC meeting, circa 60% of victims had not reported a repeat incident of violence, threats of violence, sexual abuse, stalking or harassment.
Saving Lives, Saving Money: MARACs and High Risk Domestic Abuse: CAADA, 2010
*To protect identities, names have been changed.
MARACs are voluntary meetings where information is shared on the highest risk domestic abuse cases between local public and voluntary agencies, such as health agencies, the police and Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA) services. After sharing relevant information about a victim, the meeting then discusses options for increasing their safety, and turns this into an action plan.
Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs) are specialist case workers who focus on working predominantly with high risk victims. They work from the point of crisis on an intensive, short to medium term basis. They represent the victim at MARAC and co-ordinate the response of the wide range of MARAC agencies who might be involved in a case, including those working with perpetrators and children.
Co-ordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse (CAADA) is a national charity supporting a strong multi-agency response to domestic abuse. Our work focuses on saving lives and saving public money. We provide practical tools, training, guidance, quality assurance, policy and data insight to support professionals and organisations working with domestic abuse victims. The aim is to protect the highest risk victims and their children – those at risk of murder or serious harm.
For requests for interviews, case studies or further information, please contact Amy Holgate on 0117 3178750, firstname.lastname@example.org
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