Child Protection Good Practice Guide. Domestic violence or abuse

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1 Child Protection Good Practice Guide Domestic violence or abuse

2 West Sussex Social and Caring Services 1 Domestic violence is defined as Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse which can include psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional between adults (over 17 years of age) who are, or have been intimate partners regardless of gender. It will also include family members who are defined as mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister, grandparents, in-laws and stepfamily. Reference: The Department of Health

3 2 West Sussex Social and Caring Services Child protection good practice guides in this series. 1. (CS10) 2. Protection of children with disabilities (CS11) 3. Communication with people who are deaf, deafened or hard of hearing (CS12) 4. Protocol for the conduct of case reviews (CS13) 5. Working with unco-operative or hostile parents or carers (CS14) 6. Child protection and mental health (CS15)

4 West Sussex Social and Caring Services 3 Contents Purpose of the guide 4 in the context of child protection 4 Guidance 5 Appendices A(1). Flow chart for the Care Management and CIS system 7 A(2). Flow chart for the eric system 8 B. Risk Indicator of domestic violence or abuse form 9 C. Practitioner Assessment guide 10 D. Safety Plan 12 E. Access guidelines for Children s Services 14

5 4 West Sussex Social and Caring Services Purpose of this guide Victims of domestic violence can often be helped to get the support and protection they need through early identification and intervention by professionals. This guide is designed to assist practitioners and their managers in this process and to complement existing protocols and procedures. in the context of child protection Implications for child welfare Children are very much the silent victims of domestic violence. Apart from the risk of physical harm to a child, witnessing domestic violence can have a severe impact on behaviour, health and educational performance. The impact is likely to be visible at school by a number of symptoms, including low self- confidence, withdrawal or anxiety, or behavioural difficulties. Experiencing or witnessing domestic violence may have longer lasting emotional effects on a child through adolescence and into adulthood. These include the ability to create and maintain relationships, low self-esteem, emotional instability, reduced education and career prospects. Ref: Alison Webster et al, Bitter Legacy:The emotional effect of domestic violence on children (Ilford 2002). In 90% of incidents involving domestic violence, children are in the same or next room, and 45% of victims of repeated violence said their children were aware of what was happening. Ref: Catriona Mirrlees Black. Findings from a new British Crime Survey self-completion questionnaire, H.O. Research Study Research has shown that domestic violence and child abuse are strongly related. Professionals need to keep in mind that if there is evidence of one form of abuse then the other may also be happening. Recent national initiatives Recent legislation reflects the growing awareness and concern regarding the impact of domestic violence on children. In order to address the problems of domestic violence in child contact applications, the Adoption and Children Act 2002 amended the Children Act 1989 so that when a court considers whether a child has suffered, or is likely to suffer harm, it must consider the harm that a child may suffer not just from domestic violence, but also from witnessing it. This will enable the child s welfare to be considered in the context of safety issues for the rest of the family. The DOH guidance, What to do if you re worried a child is being abused: children s service guidance, provides a framework within which those working with victims of domestic violence, both adults and children, can make decisions about sharing information. The DoH core definition in supplemented by a guidance, which includes: children will often witness violence and there is an overlap between the abuse of women and abuse (physical and sexual) of children. The wide adverse effects of living with domestic violence for children must be recognised as a child protection issue. They link to poor educational achievement, social exclusion and to juvenile crime, substance misuse, mental health problems and homelessness from running away. (Home Office 2004)

6 West Sussex Social and Caring Services 5 Guidance The Domestic Violence Flow Chart together with the Risk Indicator Form is an attempt to bring some consistency of response to how Social and Caring Services staff deal with incidents of domestic violence reported to them. This guidance is primarily written for those child-care workers using Care Management paper recording files and CIS. However, the same principles should apply, namely an assessment and consideration of the risk indicators in each case, followed by an appropriate response to the presenting incident/information, which may include the use of the safety-planning tool. A separate flow chart, (Appendix AA) should be followed by workers using the electronic recording system (eric). Domestic violence flow chart (Appendix A) The flow chart outlines the process for responding to a domestic violence referral on both a case that is open and a new referral. Open case Domestic Violence received Complete Risk Indicator Form (Social Worker) Pass Risk Indicator Form with details of the referral to Team Manager for decision If there are Child Protection concerns a Section 47 investigation should be carried out in line with Child Protection Procedures If there are no Child Protection concerns consideration as to whether an assessment should be carried out Regardless of whether an assessment is commenced there should be a process of information sharing/liaison with other agencies Finally consider whether a safety plan should be completed with the victim New referral Domestic Violence received Complete Part A and Risk Indicator form and pass to Team or Duty Manager with a view as to whether this the case relates to Children at Risk, Children in Need or Vulnerable Children? If there are Child Protection concerns, a Section 47 investigation should be carried out in line with the Child Protection Procedures. Children at risk If the case concerns Children at Risk carry out a S47 investigation and/or a Part B initial assessment within 24 hours Is there a need for some form of ongoing service provision? If so complete Statement of Needs & Care Plan If not liase with other appropriate agencies about decision to take no further action Consider initiating Safety Plan process prior to closure (see opposite)

7 6 West Sussex Social and Caring Services Children in need If the case concerns Children in Need complete Part B and carry out an initial assessment within 7 working days Is there a need for some form of ongoing service provision? If so complete Statement of Needs and Care Plan If not liase with other appropriate agencies to take no further action Consider initiating the Safety Plan process prior to closure (see below) Vulnerable children If the case concerns Vulnerable Children consider whether to complete Part B and carry out an initial assessment within 7 working days If decision is to take no further action liase with other appropriate agencies Consider initiating the Safety Plan process prior to closure (see below) Risk indicator form (Appendix B) The Risk Indicator form is meant to be a guide to assist Social Workers and Team Managers decide on the level of risk on any given domestic violence referral and what their level of response should be. It should be used as a guide as to what action to take, but is not designed to be prescriptive or replace professional judgement. Open case As mentioned above the Risk Assessment form will be filled in on any open case by the receiving or allocated social worker and passed to their Team Manger along with details of the domestic violence incident/referral, for a decision about what action will be taken. Once completed a copy of the Risk Indicator will be placed on the case file. New referral On any new referral of Domestic Violence the Duty Worker will complete both a Part A referral and a Risk Assessment form.these will then be passed in the normal way to the Duty Manager for a decision about further action. Practitioner assessment guide (Appendix C) The Practitioner Assessment Guide is designed as a memory aid for workers undertaking any form of assessment in relation to a domestic violence concerns. Safety plan (Appendix D) The Safety Plan is designed for use at any point where domestic violence has come to light. It may be used by a social worker (or other trusted professional, for example, health visitor or midwife) to complete with the victim or simply provided to the victim for self-completion. It is envisaged that where a designated professional has been tasked to complete the form with the victim, they would share Social and Caring Services concerns about the reported incident, negating the need for a standard letter being sent to victim and perpetrator.the victim would nevertheless need to be reminded that they should keep their Safety Plan in a secure place to prevent it being found by the perpetrator and possibly placing them at further risk.

8 West Sussex Social and Caring Services 7 Appendix A(1) Domestic violence flow chart for the Care Management and CIS system Domestic Violence Referral Complete Risk Assessment Open Case? Complete Risk Assessment and Part A Child Protection Concerns? Child/ren at Risk? Child Protection Procedures Assessment Child Protection Concerns? Child/ren in Need? Safety Plan/Liase with Relevant Agencies Child Protection Procedures Initial Assessment? (Part B) Vulnerable Child/ren Care Plan/Satement of Needs Safety Plan/Liase with other agencies Service Provision Safety Plan/Liase with other agencies Close Case

9 8 West Sussex Social and Caring Services Appendix A(2) Domestic violence flow chart for the eric system Domestic Violence Referral Complete Contact-In (eric) Open Case? Complete Contact-In (eric) plus Risk Indicator form Complete Assessment Refer also to Risk Indicator form Child/ren at Risk? Child Protection Concerns? Refer to Team on eric Child Protection Procedures Enter S47 Workflow on eric Child Protection Concerns Child/ren in Need? Core Assessment Safety Plan/Liase with Relevant Agencies Child Protection Procedures Enter S47 Workflow on eric Initial Assessment/ Core Assessment Vulnerable Child/ren Care Plan Safety Plan/Liase with other agencies Service Provision Safety Plan/Liase with other agencies Close Case

10 9 West West Sussex Sussex Social Area and Child Caring Protection Services Committee Domestic Domestic violence Violence or abuse or Abuse: Good Practice Guide West Sussex Area Child Protection Committee Risk indicator of domestic violence or abuse Appendix B 1. Details of the child or young person Name: Address: Date of birth: / / 2. Children at risk Date of completion: / / Cases that contain one or more of the below factors and will require that an initial assessment is carried out within 24 hours. In these cases the Social and Caring Services response will include a home visit (S47 investigation) to see the victim and child or children, close liaison with other relevant agencies and, if appropriate, completing a safety plan. The child has sustained an injury* The number of children in need priority factors *Move into Child Protection Procedures 3. Children in need Cases that contain one or more of the below factors and may require an initial assessment to undertaken within 7 working days. It is envisaged that where there is a history of domestic violence or the child is pre-school or vulnerable an initial assessment will be carried out. Serious injury to the victim or perpetrator History of domestic violence Child is pre-school age or vulnerable Destruction of property Extreme or concerning behaviour of child Victim has been forced to flee Victim is pregnant Substance misuse Child has been threatened with injury or violence Child has been used by the victim as a shield to protect them Mental health difficulties (the victim or perpetrator) Child present at time of domestic violence incident 4. Vulnerable children Cases that contain one or more of the below factors and may require liaison with other agencies, a safety plan being drawn up or closure, unless there are other identifiable Child Protection concerns. n-injury domestic violence or argument Children not present at time of incident known history of domestic violence or violence 5. Analysis Short narrative with reason why you assess Child/ren to be at Risk, in Need or Vulnerable 9 6. Management decision Action to be taken Manager s signature: Date: / / Doc 996 / Version 1 / August 2005

11 10 West Sussex Social and Caring Services Appendix C Practitioner s assessment guide Please note: This guidance is designed as an aide-memoire only and should be used in conjunction with existing protocols, procedures and professional judgement. Children Ensure that the safety and welfare of the child remains paramount. Establish full personal details of all children living in household. Be particularly mindful of child s age, ability and culture. See the child or children and where appropriate speak to child. Record child s views, wishes and perception of any known incident or current situation. Was child in the home when incident occurred? Did child witness incident? Did child sustain any injuries, if so was medical undertaken? If child or children not present where are they now? Demeanour, physical presentation, behaviour of child. (Refer to the DoH publication: Children s needs parenting capacity.the impact of parental mental illness, problem alcohol and drug use, and domestic violence on children s development.) School or nursery attended. Record of attendance. Routine medical appointments maintained? Legal orders relating to child. Relationship of perpetrator to child. Who has Parental Responsibility? Victim Ensure consideration is given to the safety of the victim. Establish full personal details of victim, including any physical/learning disability or mental health difficulties. See the victim alone. Consider the need for an interpreter. Is there evidence of physical injury. If so, has a medical been sought? Has formal complaint been made to the police? Is an injunction in force or being applied for? Demeanour, physical presentation, pregnancy. Perception of violent incident and future risk of harm to self and children. Insight of impact on children and ability to protect self and children. Enable victim to make informed decisions or choices through access to resources. History and nature of any previous abuse. Perception of perpetrator. Family and social support networks.

12 West Sussex Social and Caring Services 11 Perpetrator Wherever possible establish current whereabouts prior to visit. Establish full personal details of perpetrator, including any physical/learning disability or mental health difficulties. Did perpetrator remain in home following incident? Where is perpetrator now? Criminal record or history of violence in this or previous relationships. Length of this relationship. Details of any children from previous relationship Employment history. Any history of alcohol or drug misuse? Demeanour and physical presentation. Description and perception of violent incident. Perception of impact on victim and children. Other factors Previous or current involvement of other agencies. Previous support offered, accepted or refused. Physical condition of home. History of rent arrears, frequent moves. History of violence to pets/condition of pets. Social isolation. Practitioner Ensure you do not place yourself or other colleagues at risk in potentially violent situations. Never knowingly visit a violent situation alone. Ensure manager knows of your whereabouts and that safety precautions are in place before embarking on home visit or office appointment. Recognise the skills, knowledge and responsibility of other agencies. In the interests of the safety of all concerned, share information and practice effective communication with colleagues and other agencies. Ensure that you adhere to all relevant protocols and protection procedures. Manager to undertake Health and Safety Risk Assessment.

13 12 West Sussex Social and Caring Services West Sussex Area Child Protection Committee / Safety Plan My children and I have a right to be safe 1 If I decide to leave I will practice how to get out safely. 2 I have taught my children what to do during an incident and important telephone numbers. 3 I can tell about the violence and request they call the police if they receive the code word or hear a disruption coming from my house. 4 I will use as my code for my friends and children to call for help. 5 I can leave extra money, clothes, documents with 6 If I have to leave my home I will go to 7 When I expect an argument I will move to an area with access to an outside door. 8 I can keep my purse or wallet and keys ready and put them in in order to leave quickly. 9 I will keep my mobile phone and change on me at all times. 10 When I leave I will have: Emergency Money Keys Passports Medicine Phone Numbers Child Benefit Book Legal Papers Birth Certificates 11 If I have injuries I will have them treated by 12 I will talk to about what has happened. 13 I will give my children permission to speak to about their experiences. 14 If my children are injured or hurt I will tell 15 I will tell the following people who have permission to pick my children up: 16 If I feel low I can 17 To feel stronger I can 18 The formal support I have is (for example, family centre, victim support, health visitor, women s aide, social worker, etc.) Version 1 / September / 996

14 19. The West informal Sussex support Social I have and is (friends, Caring family, Services neighbours, etc.) 20. I can be safely contacted: by telephone on or at this address and/or I will review this Safety Plan with on (date) 13 This Safety Plan was given to Signed Signed (Worker) Date 2

15 14 West Sussex Social and Caring Services Appendix E Access guidelines for children s social services At risk A child is considered to be at risk when he or she: has suffered, or is likely to suffer, significant harm and there is serious concern for their safety; or has complex or high-level needs that need reviewing urgently with others who could help, for example, the health service. In this case, we will speak to you within 24 hours. If we think that a child is, or could be, at risk of harm, we will also make sure the child is safe. If you are worried that a child is being abused,please let us know. Contact your nearest Social and Caring Services offices or you can phone outside office hours. If you are concerned about a child s immediate safety or a child has been badly hurt, please call the police or ambulance emergency services on 999. You can let us know more details afterwards. In need A child is considered to be in need when he or she: needs extra services to help with their development; is unlikely to reach or maintain a reasonable standard of health and development without services being provided; or is disabled. We will contact you. Depending on the circumstances, this will usually be within seven working days. Vulnerable A child is considered to be vulnerable when he or she: is disadvantaged and would benefit from extra help to improve his or her life chances, for example, where there are emotional or behavioural difficulties or health problems. In this case, a team of people from social and caring services, education, and other organisations such as health, will provide advice and support. We may also look at your situation in more detail if necessary. Universal needs A child is considered to have universal needs when he or she: has health or educational needs which can be met in the community. In this case, we will offer advice and information or suggest other services that can help.

16 CS10 / Clockedwork 996. September 2005

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