Domestic Abuse (Tools and Guidance)

Domestic Abuse Risk Assessment for Children (DARAC) 

This Domestic Abuse Risk Assessment  for  Children (DARAC) tool can be used by professionals who are undertaking an assessment of risk to children who are living in a home where domestic abuse or violence has already been identified. They should have undertaken the training provided by the LSCB on how to administer and interpret the tool.

DARAC  has been developed to assist practitioners to:

  • Identify risks to children from domestic violence & abuse which begins the risk assessment process
  • Decide whether a case presents as in need of a safeguarding response or family support
  • Identify appropriate interventions for the children, the non-abusing parent and the abusive father/ father figure.

It aims to support professional judgement around 2 key areas:

1. What is the level of risk to the child? The tool examines the risk of poor outcomes for the child against 4 levels:

  • Level 1 – lower risk of harm to the child identified. A child in this situation will have additional needs. The child and their mother are likely to need family support interventions which can be offered by the agency itself or by another single agency
  • Level 2 – moderate risk of harm to the child identified – this assesses the potential risk of harm to the child as moderate to serious. A child in this situation will have additional needs. The child and their mother are likely to need family support interventions offered by more than one agency, which are coordinated by a lead professional
  • Level 3 – serious risk of harm to the child identified and safeguarding response required - this assesses potential risk of harm to the child as serious. In Threshold Level 3  protection factors are limited and the children may be suffering or be at risk of suffering significant harm. Intervention and support for the child and mother will require Children’s safeguarding service support
  • Level 4 – severe risk of harm to the child identified and child protection procedures should be initiated – this assesses the domestic violence as severe with increased concern regarding children’s wellbeing due to additional contributory risk factors. In Threshold Level 4, protective factors are extremely limited and the threshold of significant harm is reached. Intervention and support for the child and mother will  require Children’s safeguarding service support.

2. Is there a risk that violence will escalate or risk increase?  The tool highlights situations (‘red flags’) which may increase the risk of domestic violence escalating or getting worse. These trigger events may increase the risk to the child and their mothers. When a red flag occurs, the professional should re-examine needs in the family as quickly as possible.

Resource 1 : DARAC Information Gathering Formthis external link will open in a new window

Resource 2 : DARAC Risk Assessment Matrixthis external link will open in a new window

MARAC - Threshold Guidance

A MARAC is a meeting where information is shared on the highest risk domestic abuse cases between representatives of local police, health, child protection, housing practitioners, Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs), probation and other specialists from the statutory and voluntary sectors.  

Any frontline agency representative that undertakes a risk assessment with a domestic abuse victim, and thereby determines that their case meets the high risk threshold, can refer a victim’s case to a local MARAC. 

The threshold for MARAC is high risk with 14 or more ticks on the SafeLives-DASH Risk Indicator Checklist or where professional judgment warrants a MARAC referral. The purpose of the Dash risk checklist is to give a consistent and simple tool for practitioners who work with adult victims of domestic abuse in order to help them identify those who are at high risk of harm and whose cases should be referred to a MARAC meeting in order to manage their risk. 

DASH Risk Indicator Checklistthis external link will open in a new window

Professional judgment referrals can be made by any agency that has a high concern for a victim. The risk factors and the concerns of the referring agency must be clearly documented on the referral form. Police can also refer based on 3 police call outs within a 12 month period. These call outs must show a degree of escalation in either severity or frequency. 

Cumbria MARAC Operating Protocol:

http://cumbrialscb.proceduresonline.com/files/marac_protocol.docxthis external link will open in a new window 

SafeLives Toolkits available for partner agencies:

http://www.caada.org.uk/search/node/toolkitthis external link will open in a new window

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