Presentation on theme: "Nicky Stanley, Pam Miller, Helen Richardson-Foster and Gill Thomson"— Presentation transcript:
1 Children and Families Experiencing Domestic Violence: Police and Children’s Services Responses Nicky Stanley, Pam Miller, Helen Richardson-Foster and Gill ThomsonUniversity of Central Lancashire
2 Notifications of Domestic Violence Children’s exposure to domestic violence incorporated into ‘significant harm’ criteria in England & WalesGuidance emphasising need for interagency communication and coordinationExplosion in police notifications to children’s social servicesFragmented service response to children and families experiencing domestic violence
3 About the ResearchStage 1: Capturing children’s, survivors’ and perpetrators’ viewsStage 2: Tracking professional practice in 2 sites – police and children’s services251 Notifications trackedInterviews with 56 practitionersStage 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 People’s 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 People’s 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 safeChildren 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 just to get a dad taken away for no reason. (Louis, Young People’s Focus Group 5)
7 Support with Contact Arrangements “most of the reasons that the arguments were caused was that mum didn’t 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 People’s 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 haven’t got the ability to say “hang on a minute mate, you shouldn’t 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)Just to say that from the report summary of ch 3 there is only one key finding that is omitted from the presentation“This is that most perpetrators and survivors were unaware as to whether police had passed their details on to social workers”
9 Characteristics of 251 DV Incidents 87% of incidents took place at homeJust over 50% involved ex-partnersChildren present in just under 80% of incidentsNearly a third of children involved under 361% 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 couldn’t 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. #37Just to note that the following key summary points from the report have not been included here:The sample of 251 incidents included a wide range of incidents in terms of their seriousness and the levels of violence involved in individual incidents. Injuries to adults and children were recorded in just under a third of incidents.Alcohol use by perpetrators was identified in 44 per cent of incidents; 10 per cent of perpetrators were recorded as having a drug misuse problem and 10 per cent were reported to have a mental health problem. Nearly a third of perpetrators were unemployed. Alcohol or drug use was identified as contributing to about a third of the incidents where details were available.
11 Police Engagement with Children Little evidence of police engaging with childrenHalf officers interviewed expressed some reluctance about talking directly to childrenNo 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 that’s what you look to do because it’s a drain on our numbers and our people. (Frontline Officer 1)I would probably have to say that they don’t [talk to children], probably because they wouldn’t know how to …. (Supervising Officer 2)
13 Children’s Services Data : Characteristics of notified cases Most families had little/no prior contact with Children’s Services40% of families in sample had no prior contact26% 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 sampleNB – not all of the “triggered” cases received a 'substantial' intervention, as most of the triggered were just assessed and closed down. Better to say 'triggered action‘? Or to clarify this when presenting.
14 Children’s 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 knownOver half the families where an adult was injured did not receive a service.All those cases where children were injured received a service
15 Children’s Services Data: Letters No differences between NFA group and Letters only group re renotification – over half families in both groups renotifiedI think it’s a bit discriminatory if we say that the mum’s duty is to protect the children… (Initial Assessment Manager 2)…it's alerting people, if you don’t 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)Letters emphasising the damaging effects of children’s exposure to domestic violence were sent either to both adults when the perpetrator was known to be living at home or to the victim. Social workers expressed a range of views about the value of sending letters without any other intervention to families
16 Children’s Services Data: Patterns of intervention Interventions characterised by ‘stop-start’ pattern -families with repeat notifications receiving repeated assessmentsIntervention often withdrawn when families informed social workers that they had separatedThose 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 servicesNote that in the stop/starts it was not just repeat notifications, but could have been repeat referrals from other agencies about DV and also other issues
17 Children’s 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)Note that it was Initial Assessment workers who said it was not their role to work with perpetrators
18 Innovative practice Survey 2007-08 30 of 57 LSCBs identified innovative practice in relation to notifications4 models:Interagency ScreeningEarly InterventionPolice Risk Assessment Informs Notification RoutingRisk Assessment Tool
19 Conclusions 1Notifications bring domestic violence to forefront for Children’s Services, but few additional resources to meet this new demandMost notifications: no service, repeat notifications serve to push families towards Children’s Services thresholdLetters alone: ineffective as a means of managing demandSafeguarding rather than family support interventionsStop-start interventions: over-emphasis on whether couple have separated – need for long-term, low-level support and monitoring for some familiesNote that on second bullet – it may be repeat notifications or referralsNote on stop-start bullet there has been discussions about how it is not necessarily CSC’s role to do the low level monitoring and that guidelines push CSC into the stop/start pattern (IA and CA requirements)
20 Conclusions 2Police engaging with children would offer reassurance in crisis and give more information to convey to Children’s ServicesModels where police and Children’s Services staff filter notifications jointly offer option of accessing most information to feed into risk assessmentsNeed for more early intervention services identified – high quality supervised access to be available on a voluntary basisPositive outcomes for families associated with engaging with perpetratorsSummary point from Ch6 that’s not been included elsewhere re: conveying information:The extent of information notifications conveyed on families was considered inadequate by social workers. In particular, they reported wanting to receive more information concerning children’s involvement in incidents of domestic violence.
21 Key RecommendationsPolice to provide children with information specifically designed for themChildren’s Services to review value of letters - do they act to promote families’ engagement?Children’s Services to address social workers’ skills in working with perpetrators of domestic violenceSpecialist dv and universal services to contribute to early interventions – supervised access services?Develop services for perpetrators & therapeutic services for childrenInformation could be in the form of a ‘z-card’ or perhaps directing to online support?New models: eg. Ways to support contact between separated parents
22 Accessing the reportSummary report available on NSPCC website, full report from 13 Jan 2010:research/Findings/children_experiencing_domestic_violence_wda68549.htmlFor further information contact:Nicky Stanley: