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National update from Safelives: supporting victims of domestic violence

Suzanne Jacob Director of Programmes and Innovation at SafeLives gives an update at today’s identifying and supporting victims of Domestic Violence conference on:

  • getting help to the right women at the right time: the importance of helping high risk victims fast

  • improve what happens on the ground, helping MARACs and local services be more effective

  • building a national picture of Maracs

  • helping commissioners make better decisions that cut domestic abuse

In Suzanne's presention, she stated that "at SafeLives we have been able to support more people but what we haven’t seen is a decrease in the total number of people experiencing domestic abuse."

Suzanne discussed two priority areas. Firstly an increased focus on working more with perpetrators, from Jan 2016 there will be a national pilot in partnership with respect using a one to one caseworking model with perpetrators.  Suzanne said secondly that we need to work more with whole families, their primary focus has always been the individual experiencing harm but we need to work more with the whole family.

Suzanne discussed the history of MARACs, the first MARAC was held in Cardiff in 2003 just 12 years ago founded on the basis of decreasing risk and increasing safety. SafeLives began supporting MARACS in 2005, and in 2015 60% of abuse stops after MARAC support. Suzanne used a case study to understand the web of harm and vast number of people involved in domestic violence cases.

How can we move forward? Improve links between safeguarding forums, Induct and train participants so they continue working together and Understand why there is high volume in order to reduce it.

Suzanne also highlighted the need to improve accessability from hard to reach groups – currently the percentage of people in these groups reaching MARAC is below and this is not representative of the population as a whole

41% drug abuse

32% mental health problems

45% alcohol misuse

Suzanne concluded by emphasizing the importance of multi agency working – perpetrators have high levels of drug, alcohol abuse and mental health problems as perceived by the victims therefore many of these people will be already in contact with services. 

Suzanne Jacob’s Biography:

Suzanne leads the development and delivery of all SafeLives’ national programmes; our research team, training and accreditation programmes, our local support networks and our consultancy. Immediately before joining SafeLives, Suzanne spent several months working in Delhi for Breakthrough India, an organisation which campaigns against violence and discrimination against women and girls. Prior to this, Suzanne spent nearly a decade with the UK Home Office. There she worked extensively on national security matters and acted as a Private Secretary to Ministers. Suzanne worked for several years on security for the London 2012 Olympics and was awarded an OBE in 2013 for her work on intelligence collection, analysis and enforcement activity.

We are also running Implementing the NEW NICE Quality Standard for Domestic Violence & Improving the effectiveness of MARACs on Wednesday 2 March 2016 in London

Future conferences of interest:

Improving Mental Health Services for Young Adults Supporting the Transition to Adulthood
Thursday 28 January 2016, ICO Conference Centre, London

Psychological Therapies in the NHS
Wednesday 3 February 2016 — Thursday 4 February, Millennium Conference Centre, London

Improving Mental Health Crisis Care: Maintaining Momentum
Wednesday 3 February 2016, The Studio Conference Centre, Birmingham

Eating Disorders: Developing a Gold Standard Service
Wednesday 10 February 2016, Hallam Conference Centre, London

Improving Physical Health for People with Mental Health Conditions
Tuesday 23 February 2016 , Hallam Conference Centre, London


16 November 2015

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