Resources for assessing domestic abuse

Our Family Court Advisers (FCAs) need to ensure that our assessments concerning domestic abuse focus on the impact on the child, are based on a combination of static and dynamic risk factors, information gathered and that it is analysed using reasoned professional judgement. Our FCAs use their social work skills but also need to be aware of the appropriate research base and which evidence based tools will assist in being as clear as possible regarding the risk.

  • Tools and guidance
    Click here for the Domestic abuse practice pathway
    Domestic Abuse practice guidance
    Guidance on use
    Domestic abuse – what we need to know Private/public law: use in interview to establish the nature, duration and context of domestic abuse, to assist in the benchmarking of risk against the Barnardo’s Domestic Violence Risk Identification Matrix. Cafcass
    SafeLives DASH guidance Private law: Use in interview if domestic abuse is current to establish if a referral to MARAC is required. Safe Lives
    SafeLives DASH tool Private law: Use in interview if domestic abuse is current to establish if a referral to MARAC is required. Safe Lives
    Safe contact indicator Private law: To be used during or post interview to analyse whether contact is safe / in child’s best interests. Cafcass – derived from Sturge and Glaser, 2000
    Tool for assessing whether a DAPP is appropriate Private law: To be used to inform decision-making on whether a DAPP is appropriate. Cafcass – derived from Sturge and Glaser, 2000
    Domestic Abuse Safety Planning Tool This tool can be used to enhance the safety of spending time arrangements where domestic abuse has been identified but the severity and likelihood of ongoing domestic abuse is low, please see the introduction section for further advice on when and how to use this tool. Cafcass A15b
    Assessment of coercive control Private law: This tool should be used where the Safe Lives Dash has identified elements of coercive and/or controlling behaviour to assess this dynamic more fully in the context of the application. Cafcass
    Situational couple violence Guidance Private law: Guidance on recognising situational couple violence and points to consider. Cafcass
    Distinguishing domestic abuse and harmful conflict screening tool Private law: This tool is designed to be used early in the life of a case to assist the FCA in deciding which will be of most assistance in their assessment: the blue domestic abuse tools and guidance or the orange harmful conflict tools and guidance. It is not designed to be a diagnostic tool in and of itself and does not replace professional judgement. Cafcass
    Impact on children of experiencing domestic abuse Private law: Provides FCAs with guidance on working with children who are living with domestic abuse and the trauma it can cause. Cafcass
    Motivation and indicators regarding victim empathy tool A new practice tool – based on the Sturge and Glaser criteria – has been introduced to the CIAF. It should not be used as a checklist or standalone tool but as a supplemental guide to explore motivation and victim empathy within a holistic assessment alongside the static and dynamic risk factors. Cafcass – based on Sturge and Glaser, 2000

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