This section includes:
- DA explanation and definitions
- DA in Essex
- DA training and guidance
- Responding to DA concerns
- Useful organisations and websites
- Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC)
DA explanation and definitions
The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 provided a statutory definition of domestic abuse. Behaviour is domestic abuse if both parties are aged 16 or over, personally connected and the behaviour is abusive. The behaviour is 'abusive' if it is: physical or sexual abuse; violent or threatening behaviour; controlling or coercive behaviour; economic abuse; psychological, emotional or other abuse such as stalking or harassment. This can be a single incident or a course of conduct.
The Act also recognised children as victims of domestic abuse if they see, hear or experience domestic abuse and are related to either party.
The Essex Compass webpage 'What is Domestic Abuse' provides further information about the different types of abuse and how to recognise the signs of domestic abuse.
DA in Essex
The Southend, Essex and Thurrock Domestic Abuse Board (SETDAB) is the multi-agency board responsible for designing and implementing the Domestic Abuse Strategy across Southend, Essex and Thurrock.
The SET Domestic Abuse Strategy 2020-2025 identifies five key outcomes:
Children & young people can recognise and form healthy relationships
People experiencing and at risk of experiencing domestic abuse are supported to be and feel safe;
Everyone can rebuild their lives and live free from domestic abuse;
Supporting and disrupting perpetrators to change their behaviour and break the cycle of domestic abuse;
Communities, professionals and employers are able to recognise domestic abuse at the earliest opportunity and have the confidence to take action.
The Essex Police Domestic Abuse pages give further information on Essex Police's response to domestic abuse in Essex.
DA training and guidance
Responding to DA concerns
Support for children
Experiencing domestic abuse and/or violence can have a serious, long lasting emotional and psychological impact on children. It is important for settings to take action to support the child if they receive a disclosure of domestic abuse or suspect it is occurring.
If a setting has concerns about domestic abuse, or if they feel a child is at risk of (or subject to) harm because of these issues, they should contact the Children and Families Hub in the first instance – as for any other safeguarding concern
The Healthy Family Team within the Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service can also provide support to victims of domestic abuse and their children
The Directory of Services signposts to Level 2 services in Essex that support families around domestic abuse
Support for victims/incidents
If there is an ongoing emergency or a life in danger, the Police should be contacted on 999. Other ways to report domestic abuse to the police can be found on the Essex Police website
Victims of domestic abuse can access support from Independent Domestic Violence Advisers (IDVAs) through COMPASS, the single point of access for domestic abuse support agencies in Essex. Victims can self-refer or professionals can support with a referral
The National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV) is a free, fast emergency injunction service to survivors of domestic abuse and violence regardless of their financial circumstances, race, gender or sexual orientation
SETDAB signpost to a wide range of support services for victims
Support for perpetrators
- The Change Project seek to address the behaviour of people who use abuse in any relationship and educate and support them to achieve a life free of abuse through positive change
- SETDAB signpost to a wide range of support services for perpetrators
Useful organisations and websites
The NSPCC domestic abuse pages detail the signs, symptoms and effects of domestic abuse for children
Gov.uk gives up-to-date national advice on how to get help
Southend / Essex / Thurrock Domestic Abuse Board for advice and information on services for those affected by domestic abuse. Includes directory of services, key contacts and a range of resources
Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC)
The MARAC is a short-term intervention designed to bring agencies together 10 - 14 days after a high-risk domestic violence incident is reported to police or referred to MARAC. It focuses on safeguarding the victim through a multi-agency risk assessment and action plan, facilitating information sharing between agencies involved with the victim and suspect.
MARAC is an agency-only process. Agencies involved in the MARAC include (but is not limited to): Police, Children and Adult Social Care, IDVA (Independent Domestic Violence Advisor), Health, Education, Housing, CRC (Community Rehabilitation Company), NPS (National Probation Service) etc.
School/setting involvement in MARAC
MARAC is an adult based process, but if the victim or suspect has children, or children live at the same address as them (such as younger siblings), the risk posed to the children will also be considered by the panel.
The MARAC Education Safeguarding Officer works with education settings to provide relevant information to the MARAC. As well as being contacted by the MARAC Education Safeguarding Officer, you may hear from one of the other agencies as part of their usual process for DV incidents – for schools this is commonly a School Nurse or Childrens Social Care.
Refer a case to MARAC
Any agency, including an education setting, can refer a case into MARAC if they feel the victim is at high-risk. To do so, complete the MARAC Referral Form and send it to EssexMARACReferrals@essex.police.uk
Further information on MARAC