A report published by Ofsted, Care Quality Commission, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, and HM Inspectorate of Probation, shares findings from a joint targeted area inspection programme examining the multi-agency response to children living with domestic abuse.
Carried out in six geographical areas the inspection focused on how effective local authorities, children’s social care, health professionals, police and probation services were in safeguarding children living with domestic abuse.
The report draws out several commonalities in the findings,
- It is essential to maintain focus on the perpetrator of abuse.
- Children need to be understood and supported as individuals as their experience and needs may differ – children and young people should always be considered within the context of responding to domestic abuse.
- Responses need to be age appropriate to the child or young person, to allow for different levels of understanding and awareness at different ages.
- A holistic view, not just of one incident or person in the family, is needed.
- It is good practice to acknowledge and work with complexity, for instance where mental health, substance misuse or other factors may be present.
- It is important to avoid putting too much responsibility on victims, and ensure appropriate support is in place for them.
- Be aware that separation can be as, if not more, dangerous to victims and that leaving an abusive situation may not mean the end of domestic abuse.
- Domestic abuse is often a pattern across a timeline, rather than an isolated incident – it is crucial to recognise that ongoing work is needed.
- We must begin to consider how to move from crisis response to prevention and earlier intervention.
- Responding effectively in a crisis is not enough – professionals should be enabled to respond well in non-crisis and post-crisis situations.
- Improving information and education for children and young people may support them to be aware of what they are experiencing and encourage them to talk about it.