Bedfordshire Domestic Abuse Partnership

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Domestic Abuse Helpline

24 hour domestic violence helpline

Bedfordshire Domestic Abuse Partnership MARAC

What is MARAC?

The Bedfordshire Domestic Abuse Partnership coordinates two Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conferences each month - one for Central Bedfordshire and one for Bedford Borough.

Each month a number of partner agencies such as Bedfordshire Police, Children and Young People’s Services, Voluntary Sector Services, Health Services and Housing Providers identify people who are at high risk of serious harm due to domestic abuse. This may be through the survivor telling them about the abuse, or professionals being aware of incidents where domestic abuse has occurred. Once a professional has identified that someone is at high risk of further serious harm they are referred into the MARAC.

The MARAC is a multi agency meeting where professionals share information and agree a safety plan to reduce the risk to the survivor and any children. Whilst the survivor does not attend the meeting their views are represented by an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA) to ensure that the safety plan suits their individual needs and circumstances. The primary focus of the MARAC is to safeguard the adult victim.

At the heart of a MARAC is the working assumption that no single agency or individual can see the complete picture of the life of a survivor, but all may have insights that are crucial to their safety.

Information sharing at the MARACs takes place within the confines of a strict Information Sharing Protocol and under the bounds of a confidentiality agreement.

If you would like more information on our MARACs or would like to request a free awareness briefing for your team or organisation, then please contact us on maracenquiries@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk

When and How do I refer to MARAC?

If domestic abuse is disclosed to you, or you are aware that it is present then it is your responsibility to assess whether a referral into the MARAC is required. Wherever possible the Domestic Abuse Stalking & Harassment (DASH) Risk Indicator checklist should be completed with the victim/survivor. Download a copy of the DASH Risk Indicator Checklist

Whilst completing the DASH with the victim/survivor will give you a good indicator of the risks posed to each individual you should also use your Professional judgement at all times. Especially in cases where there is an absence of full information or based on your experience you believe the victim/survivor is at high risk you should make a referral based on your professional judgement.

Central Bedfordshire & Bedford Borough MARAC referral criteria

  1. Professional judgement: if a professional has serious concerns about a victim’s situation, they should refer the case to MARAC. There will be occasions where the particular context of a case gives rise to serious concerns even if the victim has been unable to disclose the information that might highlight their risk more clearly. This could reflect extreme levels of fear, cultural barriers to disclosure, immigration issues or language barriers particularly in cases of ‘honour’-based violence. This judgement would be based on the professional’s experience and/or the victim’s perception of their risk even if they do not meet criteria 2 and/or 3 below.
  2. ‘Visible High Risk’: 12+ ticks’ on the DASH checklist.
  3. Potential Escalation: If there have been 3 or more incidents which constitute a crime (whether reported to the police or not) in the past 6 months. This criterion can be used to identify cases where there is not a positive identification of a majority of the risk factors on the list, but where abuse appears to be escalating and where it is appropriate to assess the situation more fully by sharing information at MARAC.

Referring into the MARAC is a simple process, click here to download the MARAC referral form you can also download guidance available about responding to disclosure of domestic abuse and completing risk assessments:

Guidance and tips

SafeLives

An advice sheet for non-specialists to help you identify victims, ask the right questions and to point you towards other organisations who can help

ACPO DASH Quick Reference Guidance

Save and change lives through early identification, intervention and prevention

Useful Documents

If you need any help or support with the MARAC process please contact us on maracenquiries@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk