The multi-agency response to children living with domestic abuse: prevent, protect and repair
A report published by Ofsted, Care Quality Commission, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, and HM Inspectorate of Probation, shares the findings from a joint targeted area inspection programme examining the multi-agency response to children living with domestic abuse.
The inspection – carried out in six geographical areas – focused on how effective local authorities, children’s social care, health professionals, police and probation services were in safeguarding children living with domestic abuse.
The multi-agency response to children living with domestic abuse: prevent, protect and repair, reports on current response and service provision, explores commonalities and draws out key observations:
- It is essential to maintain focus on the perpetrator of abuse.
- Children need to be understood and supported as individuals as their experience and needs may differ – children and young people should always be considered within the context of responding to domestic abuse.
- Responses need to be age appropriate to the child or young person, to allow for different levels of understanding and awareness at different ages.
- A holistic view, not just of one incident or person in the family, is needed.
- It is good practice to acknowledge and work with complexity, for instance where mental health, substance misuse or other factors may be present.
- It is important to avoid putting too much responsibility on victims, and ensure appropriate support is in place for them.
- Be aware that separation can be as, if not more, dangerous to victims and that leaving an abusive situation may not mean the end of domestic abuse.
- Domestic abuse is often a pattern across a timeline, rather than an isolated incident – it is crucial to recognise that ongoing work is needed.
- We must begin to consider how to move from crisis response to prevention and earlier intervention.
- Responding effectively in a crisis is not enough – professionals should be enabled to respond well in non-crisis and post-crisis situations.
- Improving information and education for children and young people may support them to be aware of what they are experiencing and encourage them to talk about it.