Response to families where there was domestic violence or substance misuse
• Police and health were the main sources of referral
• The volume of referrals from the police concerning domestic violence was sometimes overwhelming for social care agencies
• Parents were not always informed of the referral – though the police and health usually did inform the families of the referral
• A quarter of the sample children were living in families where there were both domestic violence and parental substance misuse
• Parenting capacity was severely affected in 71% in these particular families
• Less than half the initial assessments were completed in the required time
• While some, as one would expect, led to no further action, three quarters of the cases resulted in some service delivery – in some cases a range of services
• Following an initial assessment, one in five cases where there was evidence of domestic violence was referred to a domestic violence team, and over a quarter where there was evidence of parental substance misuse were referred to services for substance misuse
• A core assessment was carried out in just over a quarter of the cases.
What improves the chances of effective inter-agency practice?
• Understanding and respecting the roles and responsibilities of other services
• Good communication
• Regular contact and meetings
• Common priorities
• Joint training
• Knowing what services are available and whom to contact
• Clear guidelines and procedures for working together
What would make a difference to parents?
• Paying attention to ensuring that families understand what is happening and consult them through the process of assessment planning and review
• A more honest, open and respectful approach
• Longer-term service provision
• Linking effectively with other service providers.