Domestic Abuse Protocol
The Doncaster Domestic Abuse Protocol has been refreshed! Please check out this latest version, published in June 2023, to see information about changes introduced through the Domestic Act 2021, details of new initiatives and referral pathways and new information and guidance about domestic abuse and how to respond to victims and perpetrators.
The protocol is a professionals guide to how to respond to victims, survivors and families experiencing domestic abuse and to the people who are causing the harm. Exerts from the protocol are included on this webpage for ease of access.
The full version of the Protocol is available to download below or can be viewed online.
Domestic and sexual abuse toolkit for educational establishments
A new toolkit for educational establishments was launched in June 2023. The toolkit contains all of the information that is contained within the Doncaster Domestic Abuse Protocol but also contains information about sexual abuse services and referral pathways, and provides schools with additional information in relation to teaching about healthy and unhealthy relationships.
The toolkit is available to download below.
Where to refer or signpost a victim of domestic abuse
If you have evidence of domestic abuse, a disclosure has been made to you or an agency or a member of the public has shared concerns with you relating to domestic abuse you, or a competent practitioner within your agency, must make every effort to complete a DASH risk assessment with the victim (see the next section on risk assessment). This will help you to explore the risks to the victim. There may be occasions when it is not possible to undertake a DASH risk assessment e.g. victim denies there is any abuse, you don't have any evidence or the individual leaves the service before a DASH has been completed. In these circumstances you must ensure that you have tried to follow up any safeguarding concerns with the individual and, if required, followed Adult and Child safeguarding processes.
You should also provide information about support services and that you have carefully documented what you have done and the reason why the DASH has not been completed. Your decision needs to be defensible.
To be competent in completing a DASH risk assessment the practitioner must have completed the full one day training on DASH and the MARAC. For training dates and how to book go to: http://www.doncaster.gov.uk/services/crime-anti-social-behaviour-nuisance/domestic-abuse-training
Practitioners must be aware that the responsibility for safeguarding and for managing risk does not end once a referral has been made to another agency or multi-agency arena.
However if you are unable to complete a DASH risk assessment you can refer a victim/survivor of domestic abuse to the Doncaster Domestic Abuse Hub.
For referral details go to: Refer someone for support - Doncaster Council
The DASH risk assessment allows professionals to make an assessment of risk relating to domestic abuse and ultimately can help determine the course of action that is required. The assessment should be carried out at once, by the practitioner who identifies the concern wherever possible and safe. Where this is not appropriate, the assessment should be carried out as soon as possible by the practitioner who identifies the concern, or the colleague identified in the organisations internal procedures.
If a referral has been made to you with an accompanying DASH risk assessment the practitioner should complete their own risk assessment with the victim. This might seem like duplication but it is important that the practitioner establishes the facts as:
- Victims will disclose different information to different practitioners
- Risk is dynamic and could have changed since the last risk assessment and referral was made
- It demonstrates to the victim that practitioners in Doncaster understand domestic abuse and the risk factors. We are all speaking the same language
- It supports your management of the case
- The DASH provides a prompt for the practitioner to explore the victim’s situation and assess what help and support is needed
There are 27 questions, so please ensure that you are in a safe environment and that there is sufficient time to listen to the victim and complete the assessment. It is important that you document the answers and keep a record of the outcomes in line with your own agency protocols.
What to do after risk assessment
Risk identification, assessment and risk management will not remove the risk to the victim entirely, but by taking positive action risk management and information sharing can help to reduce the probability of harm. Always consider whether you need to take any immediate action to safeguard the victim, any children or vulnerable adults, or share any information with agencies to safeguard the victim/family. Other safeguarding policies and procedures you will need to consider can be found at:
- Doncaster Safeguarding Children Board policies and procedures http://www.dscb.co.uk/professionals
- Doncaster Safeguarding Adults Board policies and procedures http://www.doncaster.gov.uk/services/adult-social-care/safeguarding-adults-policy-and-procedures
On completion of the risk assessment you will be able to make a judgment of whether the victim is at high risk of significant harm or death. This is when:
- There are clear risk factors identified on the risk assessment.
- You can see escalation of the abuse, either in frequency or severity and/or.
- Using your professional judgement you believe that the victim is high risk.
If you believe the victim to be at imminent high risk of significant harm or death and a crime has been committed you must contact the police, call 999 and make an emergency referral to the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC). If further significant harm or death is not considered to be imminent you should still encourage the victim to report the abuse to South Yorkshire Police and make a referral to MARAC. If a crime has been committed, but there is no immediate danger, dial 101. You must tell the victim that you are making a referral to MARAC and that he/she will be contacted by an Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (IDVA).
MARAC - Doncaster Council
If the victim is not at high risk you should talk to them about the specialist domestic abuse services that are available (the Doncaster Domestic Abuse Hub) and ask them if they consent to a referral for further information and guidance and support. A referral to the Hub must be made with the consent of the victim if they are not at high risk of serious harm or death. Refer someone for support - Doncaster Council
If the victim/survivor does not consent to a referral to the Doncaster domestic abuse hub please ensure that you have given them details of the Hub (Tel: 01302 737080) and this website (www.doncaster.gov.uk/domesticabuse)so that they can find out further information or self refer for support.
If there are children linked to the victim or perpetrator and you believe that a child or children are being affected by domestic abuse then please refer to the Doncaster Children's Services following safeguarding procedures.
You should also consider whether a Safeguarding Adult Referral is needed.
Also consider whether there is an opportunity to refer the person causing the harm to support services: Support for people who want to change their behaviour
What happens after a referral has been sent to the Doncaster Domestic Abuse Hub?
What other support is available for victims/families?
What support is available for people who cause harm?
Doncaster Council and the Office of the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner have commissioned support for people who are causing harm to others and want to address their beliefs and behaviour. The Programme is called Inspire to Change and is delivered by Cranstoun.
There is also enforcement action that will be taken for people who are not willing to stop their abuse. Much more information about enforcement options can be found in the Domestic Abuse Protocol.
Initiatives relating to Domestic Abuse - Doncaster Council
For more information about Inspire to Change visit:
Types of domestic abuse
The Domestic Abuse Protocol contains further information and guidance about the following types of abuse:
- Child to parent abuse
- Coercive and controlling behaviour
- Economic abuse
- Familial abuse
- Female Genital Mutilation and Breast Ironing
- Forced Marriage/Child Marriage
- Honour Based Abuse
- Revenge Porn and threats to disclose private sexual photographs and films
- Sexual abuse
- Spiritual abuse
Intersectionality - the barriers/additional factors you might need to consider
The Doncaster domestic abuse protocol contains more information about:
- Violence and conflict within the child and parent/carer relationship
- Cultural and language barriers
- Drugs and alcohol
- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans + (LGBT+)
- Male victims
- Older People
- Teenage abusive relationships
Employers supporting employees
Employers owe a duty of care to employees and have a legal responsibility to provide a safe and effective work environment. The cost of domestic abuse to business is estimated at £1.9 billion a year due to decreased productivity, time off work, lost wages and sick pay. It can potentially have an adverse impact on staff morale, as well as on an organisation’s image and reputation.
All Doncaster employers signing up to this Domestic Abuse Protocol are expected to have an employee domestic abuse policy or procedure (or inclusion of this issue within other relevant policies and procedures). A national toolkit is available at https://wellbeing.bitc.org.uk/all-resources/toolkits/domestic-abuse-toolkit-employers to inform the development of this support.
Advice is also available from the Domestic Abuse Strategic Lead at Doncaster Council – Karen.firstname.lastname@example.org
Vicarious Trauma – As well as supporting employees that are directly experiencing domestic abuse employers should also consider vicarious, or secondary, trauma that practitioners may experience as a result of working with victims of domestic or sexual abuse. This also includes employees that are exposed to reading or hearing about traumatic events e.g. when taking minutes, processing referrals etc. Employers should ensure that managers are aware of vicarious trauma including how to prevent it, how to identify it and how to respond to it.
Risk transference – Additionally employees may be at risk of abuse or harm from perpetrators or their associates. Employers have a duty to protect their employees and any agency signing up to this domestic abuse protocol is expected to abide by Health and Safety legislation and risk assess the activities of their employees, with specific consideration for the risk to employees by others.
Some things employers might want to consider when assessing risks to employees include:
- assessing areas of risk including history of violence from perpetrators
- threats made by perpetrators or associates
- location of perpetrator
- lone working arrangements for employees
- access to work calendars
- use of cars – in particular whether any personal car use involves easily identifiable cars/registration plates
- whether personal details of employees are easily accessible by potential perpetrators
Downloads & Resources
- Domestic Abuse Protocol Version 2 Final June 2023
- Download (1.4MB - PDF)
- Domestic and Sexual Abuse Toolkit for Educational Establishments Final June 2023
- Download (3.69MB - PDF)
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