Practice Implications

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.


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