Jessica Purchase, 36 Family
Domestic abuse is an increasingly prevalent feature in family cases, and children matters in particular. When this has been admitted or found to have occurred, the issue is then how best to move the case forwards. Evidence suggests that partners and children are not being offered support when abuse has been found. There are also real concerns that risk assessments are often too brief, are superficial, and are not being conducted by people with relevant expertise. Professionals who are not domestic abuse experts may not make the appropriate recommendations for treatment or intervention, which can leave the matter unable to move forwards or fail to address the root of the behaviours. Although Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Programmes (‘DAPP’) can be highly effective and may be seen as the best intervention, it is not always the most suitable. Intervention options are available ranging from early support to be accessed before behaviours become entrenched up to specialist, multi-agency interventions for high-risk, high-harm cases. In all cases it should always be borne in mind that, when domestic abuse has occurred, the ex-partner and child will have been impacted and should not be left behind in terms of their own support or intervention.