Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference
The Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) is a multi-agency approach to managing cases of domestic abuse where the victim has been identified as being at high risk of serious harm or homicide.
MARAC meetings bring together representatives from both statutory and voluntary agencies with the aim of sharing information and developing a safety plan for victims and their families with a view to reducing the risks and the likelihood of repeat victimisation. The victim does not attend the meetings but is represented by an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA) who speaks on their behalf.
MARAC meetings are held every week, alternating between the south of the county and the north. This allows cases from both areas of the county to be discussed fortnightly.
All agencies have a responsibility to complete a Safe Lives DASH (Domestic Abuse, Stalking and harassment and Honour based violence) risk assessment checklist and must refer into the MARAC process if the assessment scores 14 ticks or more.
In the event that the risk assessment does not score 14 ticks or more but a professional has serious concerns about a victim’s situation, such as extreme levels of fear, cultural barriers to disclosure, immigration issues or language barriers particularly in cases of ‘honour’-based violence, they should refer the case to MARAC and the reasons should be justified clearly on the referral form.
A multi-agency response is essential in ensuring that victims and their families are as safe as possible. Each agency working with a client holds a piece of the jigsaw and only by communicating with one another and working together can the best outcome for the victim be achieved. Consideration should be given to both the victim and any children living with him or her AND any children living in the household with the alleged perpetrator.
MARAC referral process:
- identify - agencies should have processes in place to identify victims of domestic abuse.
- risk assess - once identified as suffering domestic abuse, the Safe Lives-DASH Risk Identification Checklist (RIC) should be used to establish if the victim is at high risk of harm
- carry out immediate safety measures for victim, children and perpetrator
- referral - if high risk (score of 14+ on RIC) refer to MARAC and IDVA service
- IDVA service will contact the victim to offer support and identify key risks and fears.
- research - all agencies receive MARAC meeting agenda from MARAC co-ordinator and research all cases on the agenda
- IDVA gathers background information from the victim and other agencies not represented at MARAC about the abuse
- meeting and information sharing - MARAC representative presents information at the meeting on their agency's referrals as well as information relating to other cases in which their agency has been involved
- identify risks for the victim, children, perpetrator and agency staff
- action planning - volunteer actions on behalf of your own agency and offer what you could do that would increase safety
- IDVA service confirms that in their opinion the proposed actions are as safe as possible
- follow up - inform colleagues of actions and complete in time agreed
- keep IDVA informed of relevant information
- IDVA service keeps victim informed of plan where safe to do so
- IDVA service liaises with partner agencies to coordinate action plan
You can get a copy of the Safe Lives DASH risk assessment.