Advice and guidance for practitioners
The Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) (or meeting) has the safety of high risk victims of domestic abuse and their children at its focus.
What is domestic abuse?
Domestic Violence is a range of physical, sexual, emotional and financial abuse of people age 16 or over who are, or have been intimate partners - whether or not they have been married or cohabiting.
The relationship may be between partners, ex-partners, or other family members. Children can also suffer direct or indirect harm.
Domestic violence can take place in any intimate relationship, including gay and lesbian relationships. Abuse of men by female partners does occur, however the great majority of domestic violence and the most severe and chronic incidents are perpetrated by men against women and children.
What are the aims of the MARAC?
- to reduce the risk of serious harm or homicide to victims
- to increase the safety, health and well being of the victims and their children
- to reduce the number of repeat cases being reviewed at MARAC.
- to jointly construct and implement a risk management plan that provides professional support and reduces risk to the victims and their children
- to ensure that all relevant information is shared appropriately and proportionately between agencies to facilitate effective safety planning whilst protecting the rights of the individual
- to improve agency responsibility and improve support for professionals involved in high risk domestic abuse cases
- to determine whether a perpetrator poses a significant risk to the individual or to the public and ensure
Who attends the Wirral MARAC?
In Wirral there are a number of agencies that attend the MARAC, including:
- Merseyside Police - from the specialist Domestic Violence Unit
- Wirral Probation Service
- Wirral NHS Acute Trust
- Wirral Primary Care Trust
- Wirral Anti-Social Behaviour Team
- Wirral Family Intervention Programme
- Wirral Adult Social Services
- Wirral Children and Young Persons Department
- Wirral Housing Options
- Wirral Partnership Homes
- Wirral Drug Service
- Wirral Alcohol Service
- Wirral Women and Children’s Aid
- Wirral Education Welfare and Schools Service
- Wirral Family Safety Unit - Independent Domestic Violence Advocates
- Cheshire Wirral Partnership Trust
Who can be referred to the Wirral MARAC?
The MARAC is only for those cases that have been assessed as high risk using an agreed risk assessment tool (CAADA - DASH). The Wirral Family Safety Unit will review each referral made to them and consider with the referring agency the MARAC threshold.
The factors used to make this decision include:
- when there are a certain number of positive responses in the risk assessment checklist, which is part of the referral form. Any case which has 14 or more will be considered for MARAC
- any case where both the victim and perpetrator have been reviewed at the Wirral MARAC in the preceding 12 months
- any case where the professional making the referral or other professional involved in the case considers in their professional opinion that the case should be reviewed at the next MARAC
- any case which does not fit the above criteria however the severity of the incident or escalation of abuse is deemed as requiring a MARAC review
The MARAC referral process
If you are working with someone who is aged 16 years or over who is
experiencing domestic abuse the referral process is as follows:
- Step 1: Complete a Family Safety Unit referral form. You can obtain one from your MARAC representative within your agency or from the Wirral Family Safety Unit
- Step 2: Ideally obtain consent from your client. If you are unable to do so please seek advice from your Manager or Safeguarding Team. We are allowed to discuss referrals at MARAC without consent if the situation is significantly serious. Further advice can be given by the team in the Family Safety Unit
- Step 3: Speak to your MARAC representative who will advise you how to refer the case to the Wirral Family Safety Unit
- Step 4: Once received at the Family Safety Unit, the referral will be reviewed to establish if risk meets the MARAC threshold. If the referral is accepted the client will be allocated an Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (IDVA) who will contact the client and the referrer to discuss safety planning and joint working. If the case is high risk it will be reviewed at the next MARAC meeting
The Wirral Family Safety Unit is responsible for co-ordinating the MARAC and can be contacted Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, on 0151 666 4914.