Children and Families Experiencing Domestic Violence: Police and Children’s Services Responses - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Children and Families Experiencing Domestic Violence: Police and Children’s Services Responses

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

  2. Notifications of Domestic Violence • 2002 - Children’s exposure to domestic violence incorporated into ‘significant harm’ criteria in England & Wales • Guidance emphasising need for interagency communication and coordination • Explosion in police notifications to children’s social services • Fragmented service response to children and families experiencing domestic violence

  3. About the Research 2007-09 • Stage 1: Capturing children’s, survivors’ and perpetrators’ views • Stage 2: Tracking professional practice in 2 sites – police and children’s services • 251 Notifications tracked • Interviews with 56 practitioners • Stage 3: Postal survey of LSCBs 2007-08

  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 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 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)

  9. Characteristics of 251 DV Incidents • 87% of incidents took place at home • 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 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. #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 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)

  12. Children’s Services: Notification pathways

  13. Children’s Services Data : Characteristics of notified cases • Most families had little/no prior contact with Children’s Services • 40% of families in sample had no prior contact • 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

  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 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. Children’s Services Data: Letters • No differences between NFA group and Letters only group re renotification – over half families in both groups renotified I 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)

  16. Children’s 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. Children’s Services Data Findings: Working withperpetrators • 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 2007-08 • 30 of 57 LSCBs identified innovative practice in relation to notifications • 4 models: • Interagency Screening • Early Intervention • Police Risk Assessment Informs Notification Routing • Risk Assessment Tool

  19. Conclusions 1 • Notifications bring domestic violence to forefront for Children’s Services, but few additional resources to meet this new demand • Most notifications: no service, repeat notifications serve to push families towards Children’s Services threshold • Letters alone: ineffective as a means of managing demand • 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

  20. Conclusions 2 • Police engaging with children would offer reassurance in crisis and give more information to convey to Children’s Services • Models where police and Children’s 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 • Positive outcomes for families associated with engaging with perpetrators

  21. Key Recommendations • Police to provide children with information specifically designed for them • Children’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 violence • Specialist dv and universal services to contribute to early interventions – supervised access services? • Develop services for perpetrators & therapeutic services for children

  22. Accessing the report Summary report available on NSPCC website, full report from 13 Jan 2010: research/Findings/children_experiencing_domestic_violence_wda68549.html For further information contact: Nicky Stanley: