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Guidance for Dealing with Disclosures of Domestic Violence and Abuse

Herefordshire Safeguarding Boards Response to Instances of Domestic Violence and Abuse (DVA)

Domestic Abuse is unacceptable and tackling the issue is a priority for organisations and services working across Herefordshire

Domestic Abuse is a Safeguarding and Public Health issue, early intervention and support is crucial.

Home Office Definition of Domestic Abuse

Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to: Psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional abuse.

The guidance is applicable for all victims (female, male, LGBTQ etc.) and can be found within the HSCB West Midlands Procedures here.

  • Domestic abuse also occurs in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities
  • Heterosexual men can also be abused by heterosexual females
  • Domestic abuse doesn’t just occur between partners living in the same residence. It also occurs with interfamilial relationships, ex partners, and parent/adult child relationships.

Enabling disclosure

  • Create a supportive environment where DA information is prominently displayed
  • Be aware of local and national support services and have available information to support victims
  • Ensure you attend DVA training that is appropriate to your professional role i.e. universal or targeted training
  • Be aware of signs that could indicate DA is taking place
  • If required, ensure professional interpreters are employed to translate, not family members, children or friends
  • Only ask about domestic abuse to service users when they are safely on their own, and in a private place.

Remember domestic abuse commonly escalates and increases in severity over time.

Separation does not ensure safety; it often increases the risk. Always consult specialist DVA agencies for safety planning advice.  Click to visit the West Mercia Women's Aid website or call the 24 hour helpline on 0800 783 1359. 

If you believe situation is high risk refer to Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference procedures (MARAC). The MARAC Information Sharing Protocol can be found here.

If you wish to attend a MARAC to observe the proceedings please contact the MARAC Coordinator: cathy.young@westmercia.pnn.police.uk, Tel: 01432 347364  

DVA Risk Assessment Categories:

  • Standard: Current evidence does not indicate likelihood of causing serious harm
  • Medium: There are identifiable indicators of risk of serious harm.  The offender has the potential to cause serious harm but is unlikely to do so unless there is a change in circumstances, for example, failure to take medication, loss of accommodation, relationship breakdown, drug or alcohol misuse
  • High: There are identifiable indicators of risk of serious harm.  The potential event could happen at any time and the impact would be serious.

MARAC Awareness Pack used at the MARAC Awareness Training Days - to book your place visit CPD Online.

The SafeLives Risk Identification Checklist (RIC) for the identification of risk in cases of domestic abuse, stalking and ‘honour’-based violence in young people’s relationships has been amended from the original version, designed for use with adults in 2009. This Young People’s Checklist will allow you to apply the wide ranging research available on risk in adult cases of domestic abuse, combined with the more limited evidence base that relates to young people experiencing intimate partner abuse, and use it to begin the risk assessment process with a young person who is being harmed within a relationship.

Always consider children’s needs and risks to safety – if in doubt refer to Herefordshire MASH on 01432 260800.

For adult survivor consider Mental Capacity Act 2005 when responding to DVA, click here for guidance

If in doubt consult with a safeguarding manager within your organisation or the Herefordshire Safeguarding Adults BoardYou have a duty to signpost/refer survivors to support services.

Multi-Agency Domestic Abuse (DA) Risk and Referral Pathway