Children Witnessing and Experiencing Domestic Violence and Abuse Review
Domestic Violence and Abuse (DVA) has been identified as a priority for the LSCP Executive Board and a priority in Leeds. The introduction of the Domestic Violence Bill 2020 and the recognition that children who see, hear or experience DVA as victims in their own right provides a greater partnership opportunity to prepare for the changes in law.
The LSCP therefore undertook a 9-month city-wide review Children Witnessing and Experiencing Domestic Violence and Abuse, which examined how effectively children who witness, and experience domestic violence and abuse are supported and protected by agencies across Leeds. The review was overseen by our Independent Safeguarding Chair, Jasvinder Sanghera CBE.
The review sought to identify and understand:
- Current effectiveness and availability of service interventions across Leeds for children who see, hear and experience DVA, as defined by the new Domestic Abuse Act
- Gaps in service provision with an aim to seek improvement
- Models of best practice
- Preventative & support work undertaken with victims, survivors, perpetrators and children and young people.
The review was undertaken within a Public Health framework applying a trauma informed and whole system approach. Various sources of information were used to inform the review which included:
- A review of the key learning and recommendations from past reviews undertaken in Leeds since 2014, which identified domestic abuse and service responses to children and families.
- National and local data on prevalence of DVA
- Interviews with women survivors of domestic abuse with children impacted by the abuse
- Children’s Service Mapping Exercise
- Case Reviews of children on Child Protection Plans to also identify the child’s voice
- Specific and multi-agency focus group sessions with frontline practitioners
- Sessions held with councillors from the community committees
- Analysis of feedback provided by children through the My Health My School Survey.
The key findings, learning points and recommendations have been presented to the LSCP Executive Board, Leeds Children & Young People’s Partnership, The Domestic Abuse Local Partnership Board (DALP) and Adults Board.
The LSCP Business Support Unit (BSU) have developed and monitor an Action Plan informed by the recommendations and report back to the LSCP Partnership, DALP and LSCP Executive Board.
A Task and Finish Group has been set up to implement the Action Plan over the next 6 months, developed by the LSCP BSU. The group is chaired by the LSCP Independent Chair, who will report on progress to full Council within the Annual Report.
Tackling Domestic Abuse plan
The Home Office has produced a policy paper Tackling domestic abuse plan outlining its plan to prevent domestic abuse in England and Wales. The paper sets out a number of aims, including: prioritising prevention, supporting victims and pursuing perpetrators. It delivers on the government’s statutory duty to deliver a strategy for the prosecution and management of domestic abuse perpetrators.
The strategies that will be used to achieve these aims and safeguard child victims of domestic abuse, include: ensuring that children know about healthy relationships through the relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) curriculum; developing interventional measures to target risk factors associated with abuse; and ensuring that child victims have access to support to help them to manage the impact of abuse on their relationships and wellbeing.