1.7 Related issues
Domestic abuse, stalking, ‘honour’-based violence (DASH) risk indicator tool
Any agency identifying or receiving a disclosure of domestic abuse should complete an assessment of the risk of harm for the person experiencing this.
The DASH Risk Indicator Checklist is the preferred tool for assessing risk of harm in domestic abuse, stalking and ‘honour’-based violence cases. Staff conducting risk assessments using the DASH Risk Indicator Checklist should be trained in its use.
Where the risk of harm is assessed as high, or where there is evidence of escalation in the frequency or severity of abuse, a referral should be made to the local Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC).
If a safeguarding adults concern indicates that the issue involves domestic abuse, stalking or ‘honour’-based violence, a decision must be taken at a safeguarding meeting, or earlier, regarding a referral to the MARAC and who should make that referral.
Whatever form it takes, domestic abuse is rarely a one-off incident and therefore the agencies should be aware that there may be a pattern of abusive and controlling behaviour through which the abuser seeks power over the victim. Domestic abuse occurs across society, regardless of age, gender, race, sexuality, wealth and geography. Children are also affected both directly and indirectly and there is also a strong correlation between domestic abuse and child abuse.
Given the prevalence of domestic homicides of a parent that are committed by a son or daughter, it is important that all agencies are robust in their interventions with interfamilial domestic abuse. Appropriate support services should be sought to meet the needs of the adult who is experiencing domestic abuse.
There are local procedures in place regarding the need to conduct a multi-agency review when a homicide relates to domestic violence. Domestic Homicide Reviews (DHR) are led by the police. Where the death of an adult covered by the Safeguarding Adults Procedures has involved domestic violence, the criteria for undertaking a Domestic Homicide review and a Safeguarding Adults Review (SAR) may both be met. In these situations there should be local arrangements in place for agreeing how this will be managed.
Referrals to the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC)
A MARAC is a local information-sharing meeting where the focus is domestic abuse cases of the highest risk. The meeting involves representatives of the local police, probation, health, children and adults safeguarding, housing practitioners, substance misuse services, independent domestic violence advisers (IDVAs) and other specialists from the statutory and voluntary sector.
The four aims of a MARAC are:
- To safeguard any adults who are at high risk of domestic abuse.
- To make links with other protection arrangements in relation to children, people causing harm and adults with care and support needs.
- To safeguard staff.
- To work towards addressing and managing the behaviour of the person causing harm.
Where the person experiencing domestic abuse is an adult covered by the safeguarding criteria, a concern should always be raised under the adult safeguarding procedures. A referral to the MARAC should be made on the basis of risk. The organisation that becomes aware of the domestic abuse should make the referral to the MARAC.
After sharing all relevant information that they have in relation to an adult experiencing domestic abuse, attendees discuss options for increasing the safety of that person and form a co-ordinated action plan. The MARAC will also discuss the risks posed to children and how to manage the person alleged to be causing the harm.
MARACs are based on a working assumption that no single agency or individual can see the complete picture of the life of a person at risk, but all may have insights that are crucial to their safety, as part of a co-ordinated community response to domestic abuse. The person at risk does not attend the meeting although their views are fed into the meeting by representatives who have been in contact with them. The MARAC will seek protection for those who disclose domestic abuse and are at highest risk of being injured or killed.
Each local authority has arrangements in place for making referrals to the MARAC, and to support people experiencing domestic abuse who are referred to these.
Any agency receiving a disclosure of domestic abuse is able to refer the case to the local MARAC once they have completed a Co-ordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse – Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Harassment and Honour-based Violence (CAADA–DASH) risk identification checklist (RIC), and identify it as a high-risk case.
Relevant forms, agency toolkits and further information about the MARAC can be obtained through the CAADA website and on the relevant local authority’s website.
Interface between the safeguarding adults procedure and the MARAC
Where domestic abuse is being experienced by an individual who is also considered to be an adult covered by the safeguarding adults procedures, a safeguarding concern and a CAADA–DASH risk assessment and referral should both be completed as soon as practicable.
The Sussex Safeguarding Adults Policy and Procedures provides the overarching process for ensuring the co-ordination of multi-agency involvement where an adult covered by the safeguarding procedures is affected, however, the MARAC process would also be taken forward to ensure the specific focus in relation to domestic abuse is covered effectively.
Hate crime or incidents
Hate crime or incidents means any incident that is perceived by the victim, or any other person, to be racist, homophobic, transphobic or due to a person’s religion, belief, gender identity or disability. It should be noted that this definition is based on the perception of the victim a third party witnessing the incident. Such incidents may constitute a criminal offence.
Anyone can be a victim of hate crime or incidents regardless of race, age, disability, sexuality or gender. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals could face additional concerns around homophobia and gender discrimination. Individuals may be concerned that they would not be recognised as victims or be believed and taken seriously. Abusers may also control their victims, threatening to ‘out’ them to friends, family or support agencies. Local authorities have a range of support services and advice for professionals in place.
Hate crime or incidents that involve an adult covered by the adult safeguarding procedures should be raised as a safeguarding concern and action co-ordinated under these procedures. The police and other organisations should work together to ensure a robust, co-ordinated and timely response to these situations. Co-ordinated action will aim to ensure that the person is offered support and protection, and action is taken to identify and, where appropriate, prosecute those responsible.
Mate crime occurs when a person is harmed or taken advantage of by someone they thought was their friend. Mate crime can become a very serious form of abuse. In some cases victims of mate crime have been badly harmed or even killed. Surveys indicate that people with disabilities can often become the targets of this form of exploitation.
Different types of mate crime can include:
- Theft or financial abuse The abuser might demand or ask to be lent money and then not pay it back. The perpetrator might misuse the property of the vulnerable adult.
- Physical assault or abuse The abuser might hurt or injure the vulnerable adult.
- Harassment or emotional abuse The abuser might manipulate, mislead or make the person feel worthless.
- Sexual assault or abuse The abuser might harm or take advantage of the person sexually.
‘Honour’-based violence may be committed when family members feel that dishonour has been brought to their family. Women are predominantly (but not exclusively) the victims, and the violence is often committed with a degree of collusion from family members and / or the community. Many victims are so isolated and controlled that they are unable to contact the police or other organisations.
Safeguarding concerns that may indicate ‘honour’-based violence include domestic abuse, concerns about forced marriage or enforced house arrest and missing person reports. If a concern is raised and there is a suspicion that the adult is the victim of ‘honour’-based violence, a referral to the police should always be considered as they have the necessary expertise to manage the risk.
Forced marriage is a term used to describe a marriage in which one or both of the parties is married without their consent or against their will. A forced marriage differs from an arranged marriage, in which both parties consent to the assistance of their parents or a third party in identifying a spouse.
The multi-agency practice guidelines Handling cases of forced marriage (Home Office, 2009) recommend that cases involving forced marriage are best dealt with by child protection or ‘adult protection’ specialists.
In a situation where there is concern that an adult is being forced into a marriage they do not or cannot consent to, there may be an overlap between action taken under the forced marriage provisions and the adult safeguarding process. In this case action will be co-ordinated with the police and other relevant organisations, such as The Forced Marriage Unit.
Prevent is a key part of the Government’s Counter Terrorist Strategy. Its aim is to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. Early intervention to divert people away from being drawn into terrorist activity is at the heart of Prevent.
Safeguarding adults from radicalisation is no different from safeguarding them from other forms of harm. Indicators for vulnerability to radicalisation include:
- Family tensions.
- Sense of isolation.
- Distance from cultural heritage.
- Experience of racism or discrimination.
- Feeling of failure.
Indicators that someone might be engaged with an extremist group, cause or ideology
- Spending time in the company of suspected extremists.
- Changing their style of dress or personal appearance to accord with the group.
- Their day-to-day behaviour becoming increasingly centred around an extremist ideology, group or cause.
- Loss of interest in other friends and activities not associated with the extremist ideology, group or cause.
- Possession of material or symbols associated with an extremist cause (eg. the swastika for far-right groups).
- Attempts to recruit others to the ideology, group or cause.
- Communication with others that suggests identification with an ideology, group or cause.
Channel is the name of the process of identifying and referring a person for early intervention and support. It uses existing collaboration between local authorities, statutory partners, the police and the local community to:
- Identify people at risk of being drawn into terrorism.
- Assess the nature and extent of that risk.
- Develop the most appropriate support plan for the individuals concerned.
For further information see: https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/protecting-the-uk-against-terrorism/supporting-pages/prevent
Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA)
The purpose of the MAPPA framework is to reduce the risks posed by sexual and violent offenders in order to protect the public, including previous victims, from serious harm. The responsible authority (ie. the police, prison and probation services) has a duty to ensure that MAPPA is established in each of their geographic areas to ensure the risk assessment and management of all identified MAPPA offenders (primarily violent offenders on licence or mental health orders and all registered sex offenders). The police, prison and probation services have a clear statutory duty to share information for MAPPA purposes.
Other organisations have a duty to co-operate with the responsible authority, including the sharing of information. These include:
- Local authority children and family, and adult social care services.
- Clinical Commissioning Groups.
- Jobcentre Plus.
- Youth Offender Teams.
- Local housing authorities.
- Registered social landlords with accommodation for MAPPA offenders.
Abuse by children
If a child or children is / are causing harm to an adult, this should be dealt with under the safeguarding adults policy and procedures, but will also need to involve the local authority children’s services.
The Children Act 1989 provides the legislative framework for agencies to take decisions on behalf of children and to take action to protect them from abuse and neglect.
Everyone must be aware that in situations where there is a concern that an adult at risk is or could be being abused or neglected and there are children in the same household, they too could be at risk. If there are concerns about abuse or neglect of children and young people under the age of 18, a referral should be made to children’s services. Adults and children’s services should work jointly. For example, where a person may lack capacity regarding decisions in relation to the care or needs of a child who is pregnant, a referral should be made to children’s services.
Young people moving into adulthood and care leavers (transition)
Where a concern of abuse relates to a person under 18 years, child protection procedures will apply and an appropriate representative from adult services should be involved. If the person is 17 years of age and about to become 18, discussion should be held between child protection and adult services regarding which service and procedures would be most appropriate to take forward the enquiry if one is required.
Robust joint working arrangements between children’s services and adult social care need to be put in place to ensure that the medical, psychosocial and vocational needs of children leaving care are addressed as they move to adulthood.
The care needs of the young person should be at the forefront of any support planning and require a co-ordinated multi-agency approach. Assessments of care needs at this stage should include issues of safeguarding and risk. Care planning needs to ensure that the young adult’s safety is not put at risk through delays in providing the services they need to maintain their independence, well-being and choice.