Thursday, 31 July 2014

Meeting the Criteria for Help , Support and Protection

Earlier this year, I also had first-hand contact with the local DV services.  Despite a desperate situation which cried out for additional support and help, the Local Authority decided that the ‘case’  didn’t  meet their criteria for referral.  I won’t elaborate on the case itself because it’s not only my story but affects others.  Suffice to say that you didn’t need to be an expert to realise that the mental health of the person concerned was a direct result of that person witnessing long-term Domestic Abuse.    However, not enough boxes were ticked, so the person concerned struggles on battling personal demons until another crisis point will be hit.  I wonder who will be there to try and pick up the pieces?

So how do these well-paid ‘experts  decide on who is worthy of their services?   Local authority professionals fill in a form and if they tick enough boxes, you get support, help and protection.  If you don’t score high enough, tough luck!!    There’s no support or help for you.

What follows is the MARAC Risk Identification and Assessment  Forms which is also called DASH.  MARAC stands for Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference and DASH stands for Domestic Abuse, Stalking , Harassment and Honour based violence.  The form and questions are pretty much standardised right across the United Kingdom.

See what you think….

Referral Details

Most recent Crime Reference Number:  (if known)

Reasons for Referral:

o  Professional Judgement (Please state clearly in Background and Risk issues below the reasons. -

o  14 or more ticks on the Risk Indicator Checklist (RIC)     (number of ticks ­­­___ )

o  5 police call outs in the past 12 months between the same parties / people.

o Repeat Referral.
 To meet this criterion, the answer to the following 2 statements must be YES.
  1. Since the case was last discussed at MARAC, a further crime has occurred within the last 12 months.
  2. The perpetrator and victim are the same as those on the previous MARAC.
How did this case come to your notice e.g. report made to the Police or referral received from another agency.

Background & Risk Issues
Please provide summary of reasons for referral.  If a Risk Indicator Checklist (RIC) was used, or referral made on Professional Judgement, please state clearly the risk factors:

A MARAC referral must be discussed with the victim. Has consent been given for a MARAC referral? 
(If not, please complete an Information Sharing Without Consent Form which is at the end of this document.)
Yes / No

What RISK MANAGEMENT plan is currently in place to safeguard this Victim?
Please write in below, all safeguarding measure already in place.  For example, bail conditions, Non-Molestation Order, Safeguarding Meeting etc.

What SAFEGUARDING MEASURES is the REFERRING AGENCY hoping to achieve through the MARAC?
For example, housing support etc.

What outcome is the VICTIM hoping to achieve through this MARAC referral to help them feel safe and reduce risk?


CAADA-DASH MARAC Risk Indicator Checklist

for the identification of high risk cases of domestic abuse, stalking and ‘honour’-based violence

This checklist has been adopted from CAADA for use within the MARAC.  The primary purpose of the form is to identify risk to the adult victim and to be able to offer appropriate resources/support in the form of the MARAC for the most serious cases.

Practitioners must be aware that this is a risk identification checklist and not a full risk assessment nor a case management form.  It is a practical tool that can help you to identify which of your clients should be referred to MARAC and how you should be prioritizing the use of your resources.  Risk is dynamic and practitioners need to be alert to the fact that risk can change very suddenly.   The presence of children increases the wider risks of domestic violence and step children are particularly at risk. However, this tool is not a full risk assessment for children. If risk towards children is highlighted you should consider what referral you need to make to obtain a full assessment of the children’s situation.

Please explain that the purpose of asking these questions is for the safety and protection of the individual concerned. Tick the box if the factor is present R. Please use the comment box at the end of the form to expand on any answer. It is assumed that your main source of information is the victim. If this is not the case please indicate in the right hand column

State source of info if not the victim e.g. police officer
  1. Has the current incident resulted in injury? (Please state what and whether this is the first injury.)

  1. Are you very frightened? 

  1. What are you afraid of?  Is it further injury or violence?  (Please give an indication of what you think (name of abuser(s)...) might do and to whom, including children)

4.     Do you feel isolated from family/friends i.e. does (name of abuser(s)………..) try to stop you from
seeing friends/family/doctor or others?

  1. Are you feeling depressed or having suicidal thoughts?

  1. Have you separated or tried to separate from (name of abuser(s)….) within the past year?

  1. Is there conflict over child contact?

8.     Does (……) constantly text, call, contact, follow, stalk or harass you? (Please expand to identify what and whether you believe that this is done deliberately to intimidate you? Consider the context and behaviour of what is being done.)

9.     Are you pregnant or have you recently had a baby (within the last 18 months)?

  1. Is the abuse happening more often?

11.  Is the abuse getting worse?

  1. Does (……) try to control everything you do and/or are they excessively jealous? (In terms of relationships, who you see, being ‘policed at home’, telling you what to wear for example.  Consider ‘honour’-based violence and specify behaviour.)

  1. Has (……..) ever used weapons or objects to hurt you?

Tick box if factor is present. Please use the comment box at the end of the form to expand on any answer.

State source of info if not the victim e.g. police officer
14.  Has (……..) ever threatened to kill you or someone else and you believed them? (If yes, tick who.)
      You ¨        Children ¨            Other (please specify) ¨

  1. Has (………) ever attempted to strangle/choke/suffocate/drown you?

  1. Does (……..) do or say things of a sexual nature that make you feel bad or that physically hurt you or someone else?  (If someone else, specify who.)

17.  Is there any other person who has threatened you or who you are afraid of?  (If yes, please specify whom and why. Consider extended family if HBV.)

  1. Do you know if (………..) has hurt anyone else? (Please specify whom including the children, siblings or elderly relatives. Consider HBV.)

      Children ¨          Another family member ¨       
      Someone from a previous relationship ¨    
      Other (please specify) ¨

19.  Has (……….) ever mistreated an animal or the family pet?

  1. Are there any financial issues? For example, are you dependent on (…..) for money/have they recently lost their job/other financial issues?

  1. Has (……..) had problems in the past year with drugs (prescription or other), alcohol or mental health leading to problems in leading a normal life?  (If yes, please specify which and give relevant details if known.)

      Drugs ¨          Alcohol ¨           Mental Health ¨

  1. Has (……) ever threatened or attempted suicide?

23.  Has (………) ever broken bail/an injunction and/or formal agreement for when they can see you and/or the children? (You may wish to consider this in relation to an ex-partner of the perpetrator if relevant.)

Bail conditions  ¨   Non Molestation/Occupation Order  ¨ 
Child Contact arrangements ¨ 
Forced Marriage Protection Order  ¨     Other  ¨

24.  Do you know if (……..) has ever been in trouble with the police or has a criminal history?  (If yes, please specify.)

      DV  ¨    Sexual violence ¨    Other violence ¨         Other  ¨

Total ‘yes’ responses    

For consideration by professional: Is there any other relevant information (from victim or professional) which may increase risk levels?  Consider victim’s situation in relation to disability, substance misuse, mental health issues, cultural/language barriers, ‘honour’- based systems and minimisation. Are they willing to engage with your service?  Describe:

Consider abuser’s occupation/interests-could this give them unique access to weapons? Describe:

What are the victim’s greatest priorities to address their safety?

Do you believe that there are reasonable grounds for referring this case to MARAC? Yes  /  No

If yes, have you made a referral?  Yes/No

Signed:                                                                                                                 Date:
Do you believe that there are risks facing the children in the family?         Yes  /  No

If yes, please confirm if you have made a referral to safeguard the children:     Yes  /  No

Date referral made...........................................   




Practitioners’ Notes

Guidance on making a referral to the  MARAC threshold

The xxxxx MARAC has three criteria by which a case can meet threshold:

  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. 

  1. Visible High Risk: the number of ‘ticks’ on this checklist.  If you have ticked 14 or more ‘yes’ boxes the case would meet the MARAC referral threshold OR

  1. Potential Escalation: the number of police callouts to the victim as a result of domestic abuse in the past 12 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

Please pay particular attention to a practitioner’s professional judgement in all cases.  The results from a checklist are not a definitive assessment of risk.  They should provide you with a structure to inform your judgement and act as prompts to further questioning, analysis and risk management whether via a MARAC or in another way. 

MARAC Repeat

A repeat MARAC case is one where any of the following types of behaviour have taken place within 12 months of a victim’s first referral to MARAC:

  • Violence or threats of violence to the victim; or
  • Where there is a pattern of stalking or harassment; or
  • Were rape or sexual abuse is disclosed.

Where these criteria are met, the victim should be re-referred to MARAC regardless of whether they meet the MARAC threshold.


This section must be completed for MARAC referrals made without consent and should also be sent via Secure email to xxxxxx   with the Referral and Risk Indicator Checklist.

The below link explains which of the above E-mail addresses you should send referrals to.  


Immediate risk / crisis                          
Risk identified through risk assessment
Child(ren) at risk/Danger to child(ren)

Danger to client                                                                  

Client poses a risk to self or others                                                       

Risk Identification Checklist
(number of ticks)

Incident/information causing concern  (include source of information)

Legal Authority to Share

ð        Protocol relevant ___________________­_______________    OR

        Legal grounds (please tick 1 or more grounds below)

ð        Prevention and detection of crime  (Crime and Disorder Act 1998)

ð        Prevention/detection or crime and/or apprehension or prosecution of offenders  (DPA, s. 29)

ð        To protect vital interests of the data subject; serious harm or matter of life or death (DPA, Sch. 2 & 3)

ð        For the administration of justice (usually brining perpetrators to justice  (DPA, Sch. 2 & 3)

ð        For the exercise of functions conferred on any person by or under any enactment (police/social services)  (DPA, Sch. 2 & 3)

ð        In accordance with a court order

ð        Overriding public interest  (Common law)

ð        Child protection – disclosure to social services or police for the exercise of functions under the Children Act, where the public interest in safeguarding the child’s welfare overrides the need to keep the information confidential  (DPA, Sch. 2 & 3)

ð        Right to life  (Human Rights Act, Art. 2 & 3)

ð        Right to be free from torture or inhuman or degrading treatment  (Human Rights Act, Art. 2 & 3)

Balancing Considerations

ð        Pressing need

ð        Respective risks to those affected

ð        Risk of not disclosing

ð        Interest of other agency/person in receiving it

ð        Public interest in disclosure

ð        Human rights

ð        Duty of confidentiality


Internal consultations
 (Names, dates and advice/decisions)

External consultations
(Home Office guidance, Information-sharing Helpline)

Client Notification

Client notified of disclosure(s)? 
Date of notification
Please insert date of disclosure
If not, why not?       


Date for review of this situation 
(Review to include feedback from the agencies informed as to their response)
Date of notification
Please insert date of disclosure
Who is responsible for ensuring the situation is reviewed by this date.

Record following details of information sharing in case file:

·       Date info shared; Agency and named person informed; Method of contact (by email, letter, phone call); Legal authority for each agency

Signed and dated by caseworker                    Authorised and dated by manager