Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (MARAC) in Somerset
The identification of high risk domestic abuse is everyone’s business. The completion of a domestic abuse risk assessment (DASH) helps assess the severity of the presenting risk. This starts the process towards a MARAC where the aim is to ensure effective support to the right people without delay.
What is MARAC?
MARAC is a partnership approach and its core objective is to share information about domestic abuse victims, perpetrators and families. This involved a number of agencies including Children's Social Care, Adult Social Care, Police, Housing, Education, Specialist Domestic Abuse Services and Mental Health
There are 3 MARAC meetings regularly held in Somerset, these are Sedgemoor/Taunton/West Somerset, South Somerset and Mendip.
Each agency signed up to MARAC has a MARAC representative who attends meetings and is responsible for the actions of their agency.
MARAC runs alongside other multi-agency assessment processes and so must link appropriately to avoid duplication (i.e. MASH, Channel)
How to make a Referral to MARAC
MARAC cases can be referred from any agency. A person would have to disclose they were a victim of domestic abuse. The perpetrator(s) should never be told of the MARAC process.
An ACPO DASH Risk Identification Checklist [commonly known as a DASH or RIC] must be completed for the victim by the practitioner. Only high risk victims can be referred to MARAC, those who total 14 "ticks" or more. But you can use professional judgement, if a lower score is reached but you believe the risks are high enough to justify a discussion at MARAC.
A MARAC referral form should then be completed and sent to the local domestic abuse service as described at the ‘how to make a referral’ page
In this time, the victim is assigned a dedicated Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA) who will make contact with the victim and represent them at a MARAC. The MARAC takes place and information is shared by agencies, who should ensure they are clear on the actions they can and will take, and by when to ensure the safety of the victim and their children/other dependents.
Once the meeting is over the minutes are sent out to all agencies.
Does the victim have to consent to share their information?
It is always advised to gain consent from the victim because safety planning will be more effective if s/he agrees to work with the Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA). However, when considering the safety of clients who are at high risk of harm, gaining consent is not always necessary.
What If The Case Does Not Reach The Criteria For MARAC?
If a victim does not meet the criteria they can still be referred to the Somerset Integrated Domestic Abuse Service for other support which is designed to support all victims who score 10 points or above on the DASH risk Assessment
What Happens After The MARAC?
The IDVA will let the victim know about the safety plan, safety measures and the support each agency offers. The safety plan will be about actions to support the victim and any children and to reduce the risk from the perpetrator.
What Happens If The Abuse Continues?
If a victim whose case has already been considered at a MARAC later reports an incident to any agency, that agency must refer the case back to the MARAC as a repeat case. This allows the MARAC to re-design the safety plan, taking the new information into account.
Further information about MARAC can be found in the Somerset MARAC protocol and have a look at the Somerset pathway
If you are in any doubt how to engage in the MARAC process, please speak to your agency’s “MARAC Designated Officer”. If you’re not sure who this is, or you need any other MARAC related information, please either email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org