Assessing and Responding to the Impact of Domestic Abuse
The aim of this procedure is to identify the potential impact of domestic abuse on children. It does not replace any relevant organisational or safeguarding guidance in respect of the adult victim or perpetrator. It is intended for anyone involved in providing services to adults who are parents/carers carers or services for unborn babies, children and young people.
1.1 This procedure is to be used to ensure the likelihood and severity of the impact of domestic abuse on a child is considered, assessed and managed promptly and effectively. It involves the practitioner thinking about any child within the family, the nature of risk and also the protective factors for the child. It requires practitioners to seek information and use their professional judgement.
1.2 Professionals in all agencies can become aware of domestic abuse being present in the lives of children and families they work with through:
1.3 Professionals should refer to the relevant Tees Threshold document (Providing the Right Support) to inform and assist in their decision making.
1.4 Where the Police are called to a domestic abuse incident they will also follow their internal procedures in respect of Operation Encompass. Operation Encompass is a process by which key adults in schools, academies, colleges and nurseries are informed by the police that a child attending their premises may have been affected by domestic abuse. This will mean that a child has been in a household where an incident of domestic abuse has taken place and that they were present, witnessed or were involved in it.
1.5 The records of all police call-outs to domestic incidents will be reviewed daily to ascertain if a child meets the criteria for referral.
2.1 Domestic abuse is defined by the Home Office as: ‘Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality’. This can include but is not limited to the following types of abuse:
2.2 The definition is further explained below:
2.2.1 Controlling behaviour is: a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.
2.2.2 Coercive behaviour is: an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.
2.2.3 This definition includes 'honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage, and is clear that victims are not confined to one gender or ethnic group.
2.2.4 Intimate Partners -means that there must be, or have been, a relationship with a degree of continuity or stability. The relationship must also have, or have had (or be reasonably supposed to have or have had); a sexual aspect such as in the relationship a husband and wife or between others generally recognised as a couple, including same sex couples. The partners or ex-partners need not be living together on a full-time, continuing basis and need not ever have done so.
2.2.5 Family Members includes mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister, grandparents, in-laws and step-family whether directly related or not.
2.2.6 Psychological Abuse could include abuse arising out of gender, race, religion, age or disability; humiliation or ridiculing the person or their conduct, bullying or intimidation; deprivation of ordinary social contact.
2.2.7 Physical Abuse means any offence of violence ranging from common assaults to murder.
2.2.8 Emotional Abuse means any harm deliberately or recklessly inflicted on another person's emotional well-being.
2.2.9 Financial Abuse is the abuse of power in a relationship where one partner maintains control over the other's money.
3. Impact on children
3.1 Domestic abuse often exists as the result of and/or alongside other presenting problems for the parent/s e.g. drug and alcohol abuse, mental health difficulties, poor childhood experiences. These factors increase the difficulty the parent has in providing adequate care and can result in abuse or neglect of the child. Domestic abuse can impact on the development and well-being of a child in a number of ways.
3.2 These include:
4. Age Specific Factors
4.1 Unborn children and those under 1 year old
4.2 Young children
Adolescents may exhibit the same symptoms as younger children but in addition may also exhibit:
5. Considering the impact of domestic abuse where there is a child in the family
5.1 The following is to help you when considering the likelihood and severity of the impact of domestic abuse on a child; it is not intended to replace professional judgement but when read alongside the relevant Threshold document should help you to determine the action you need to take; Early Help Assessment, Referral to Children’s Social Care and or notification to the Police. Follow Tees Safeguarding Children Procedures advising how to make a referral.
5.2 You need to think about the nature of risk but also the protective factors for the child. Examples of protective factors include:
6. Assessing Risk
6.1 If any of the following factors are present they are likely to have a direct impact on the safety and well-being of the child and a referral to Children’s Social Care and the Police should be made.