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Children and Families Experiencing Domestic Violence: Police and Childrens Services Responses Nicky Stanley, Pam Miller, Helen Richardson-Foster and Gill.

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Presentation on theme: "Children and Families Experiencing Domestic Violence: Police and Childrens Services Responses Nicky Stanley, Pam Miller, Helen Richardson-Foster and Gill."— Presentation transcript:

1 Children and Families Experiencing Domestic Violence: Police and Childrens Services Responses Nicky Stanley, Pam Miller, Helen Richardson-Foster and Gill Thomson University of Central Lancashire University of Central Lancashire

2 Notifications of Domestic Violence Childrens exposure to domestic violence incorporated into significant harm criteria in England & Wales Childrens exposure to domestic violence incorporated into significant harm criteria in England & Wales Guidance emphasising need for interagency communication and coordination Guidance emphasising need for interagency communication and coordination Explosion in police notifications to childrens social services Explosion in police notifications to childrens social services Fragmented service response to children and families experiencing domestic violence Fragmented service response to children and families experiencing domestic violence

3 About the Research Stage 1: Capturing childrens, survivors and perpetrators views Stage 1: Capturing childrens, survivors and perpetrators views Stage 2: Tracking professional practice in 2 sites – police and childrens services Stage 2: Tracking professional practice in 2 sites – police and childrens services 251 Notifications tracked 251 Notifications tracked Interviews with 56 practitioners Interviews with 56 practitioners Stage 3: Postal survey of LSCBs Stage 3: Postal survey of LSCBs

4 More information and explanations for young people Young people felt excluded or ignored when police intervened in domestic violence incidents and wanted more information and explanations: When my dad came round and he started kicking off, the police come round and they arrested him, they took a statement of my mum and that's it, they don't …they didn't say to us what happened if he was going to be released the next day or - we didn't find out anything. (Dawn, Young Peoples Focus Group 4)

5 Being listened to and believed She [police officer] was really helpful, she spoke to me rather than just my mum, she was the one that gave us the number for the NSPCC. She was just good at listening to us and that. (Nicola, Young Peoples Focus Group 1) And I told them what was happening to me and it was such a nightmare. And I could tell, they were just looking at me and thinking you are lying. (Pearl, Survivor) They listened to me, they listened to me and they took into the fact of what had occurred in the background in the past and what have you. (Craig, Perpetrator)

6 Feeling safe Children and survivors wanted to feel safe, wanted perpetrator to be removed from home immediately and to know what would happen next: When they come straight away, they could like take him away straight away, instead of waiting around and everything and listening to sides, just … they should be taken away because a mum or child wouldn't call 999 just to get a dad taken away for no reason. (Louis, Young Peoples Focus Group 5)

7 Support with Contact Arrangements most of the reasons that the arguments were caused was that mum didnt like talking to my dad, and she had no other way of contacting him … and that if the social were there they could have sorted it out. (Dawn, Young Peoples Group 4) …all his dad were interested in was questioning [our son] whether I had a boyfriend, where we were living, where was the refuge. …and these people that volunteer…they havent got the ability to say hang on a minute mate, you shouldnt be asking that. I know of places that are run by social services that mums and dads go to visit their children, and social workers are covering over. And I wanted something like that. (Sarah, Survivor)

8 The wake up call for perpetrators Perpetrators experienced police intervention as a wake-up call and highlighted the potential for police to signpost perpetrators to relevant services: ….they brought me in and they cautioned me and this ….made me realise that before that I had blinkers on….They shook me up, what I was doing with my son. (Patrick, Perpetrator)

9 Characteristics of 251 DV Incidents 87% of incidents took place at home 87% of incidents took place at home Just over 50% involved ex-partners Just over 50% involved ex-partners Children present in just under 80% of incidents Nearly a third of children involved under 3 61% of children witnessed the incident directly

10 Police Data Findings: Access to children/child contact Incidents occurred in context of child contact visits or when perpetrator was seeking access to the house/ children: Father was watching his three year old child and needed to go somewhere. He contacted mother (ex-partner) to come and collect child. When she said she couldnt make it back quickly, father threatened to box your face if he had to take the child to her. Father has made threats in past, but never acted upon them, so mother ignored threat. When father brought child to mother in public shopping area, he punched her in the face three times, knocking her down. When she tried to fight back, father punched her again and then left. #37

11 Police Engagement with Children Little evidence of police engaging with children Half officers interviewed expressed some reluctance about talking directly to children No information provided for children …. it's not something that's done as often as you would probably think. (Frontline Officer 8) …. if you can avoid bringing the children in thats what you look to do because its a drain on our numbers and our people. (Frontline Officer 1) I would probably have to say that they dont [talk to children], probably because they wouldnt know how to …. (Supervising Officer 2)

12 Childrens Services: Notification pathways

13 Childrens Services Data : Characteristics of notified cases Most families had little/no prior contact with Childrens Services Most families had little/no prior contact with Childrens Services 40% of families in sample had no prior contact 40% of families in sample had no prior contact 26% had minimal prior contact (previous referral or notifications closed no further action) 26% had minimal prior contact (previous referral or notifications closed no further action) 19 cases – already open - notification triggered a substantial service for only 5% (n=9) of sample 19 cases – already open - notification triggered a substantial service for only 5% (n=9) of sample

14 Childrens Services Data: factors determining pathways Unless case already open, chances of notified family receiving an intervention low, unless children under 12 months. Notifications that conveyed the severity of an incident by reporting injuries might trigger a service if the family was already known Over half the families where an adult was injured did not receive a service. All those cases where children were injured received a service

15 Childrens Services Data: Letters No differences between NFA group and Letters only group re renotification – over half families in both groups renotified I think its a bit discriminatory if we say that the mums duty is to protect the children… (Initial Assessment Manager 2) …it's alerting people, if you dont want social services involved in your family…then they need to address it, and, to some extent, I think it is a good idea. (Initial Assessment Social Worker 2)

16 Childrens Services Data: Patterns of intervention Interventions characterised by stop-start pattern - families with repeat notifications receiving repeated assessments Intervention often withdrawn when families informed social workers that they had separated Those cases which received substantial intervention and where children remained living at home with both parents 18 months after the sample notification were likely to be those where father as well as mother had engaged with services

17 Childrens Services Data Findings: Working with perpetrators Not all social workers saw this as their role: As a general rule, I personally don't ever get involved with the perpetrator… (Initial Assessment Worker 2) I've heard it said we don't work with perpetrators in social work and I struggle with that really, you know, and I don't think you can ever say we don't work with perpetrators …if they're part of the family unit and if that risk can be managed and if that person is open to change. (Child Protection Manager 2)

18 Innovative practice Survey of 57 LSCBs identified innovative practice in relation to notifications 30 of 57 LSCBs identified innovative practice in relation to notifications 4 models: 4 models: Interagency Screening Interagency Screening Early Intervention Early Intervention Police Risk Assessment Informs Notification Routing Police Risk Assessment Informs Notification Routing Risk Assessment Tool Risk Assessment Tool

19 Conclusions 1 Notifications bring domestic violence to forefront for Childrens Services, but few additional resources to meet this new demand Notifications bring domestic violence to forefront for Childrens Services, but few additional resources to meet this new demand Most notifications: no service, repeat notifications serve to push families towards Childrens Services threshold Most notifications: no service, repeat notifications serve to push families towards Childrens Services threshold Letters alone: ineffective as a means of managing demand Letters alone: ineffective as a means of managing demand Safeguarding rather than family support interventions Safeguarding rather than family support interventions Stop-start interventions: over-emphasis on whether couple have separated – need for long-term, low- level support and monitoring for some families Stop-start interventions: over-emphasis on whether couple have separated – need for long-term, low- level support and monitoring for some families

20 Conclusions 2 Police engaging with children would offer reassurance in crisis and give more information to convey to Childrens Services Police engaging with children would offer reassurance in crisis and give more information to convey to Childrens Services Models where police and Childrens Services staff filter notifications jointly offer option of accessing most information to feed into risk assessments Models where police and Childrens Services staff filter notifications jointly offer option of accessing most information to feed into risk assessments Need for more early intervention services identified – high quality supervised access to be available on a voluntary basis Need for more early intervention services identified – high quality supervised access to be available on a voluntary basis Positive outcomes for families associated with engaging with perpetrators Positive outcomes for families associated with engaging with perpetrators

21 Key Recommendations Police to provide children with information specifically designed for them Police to provide children with information specifically designed for them Childrens Services to review value of letters - do they act to promote families engagement? Childrens Services to review value of letters - do they act to promote families engagement? Childrens Services to address social workers skills in working with perpetrators of domestic violence Childrens Services to address social workers skills in working with perpetrators of domestic violence Specialist dv and universal services to contribute to early interventions – supervised access services? Specialist dv and universal services to contribute to early interventions – supervised access services? Develop services for perpetrators & therapeutic services for children Develop services for perpetrators & therapeutic services for children

22 Accessing the report Summary report available on NSPCC website, full report from 13 Jan 2010:http://www.nspcc.org.uk/Inform/ research/Findings/children_experiencing_domestic _violence_wda68549.html For further information contact: Nicky Stanley:


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