What is 'MARAC'?
A Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference 'MARAC' is a regular local meeting to discuss how to help victims at high risk of murder or serious harm. A domestic abuse specialist (IDVA), Police, Children's Social Services, Health and other relevant agencies all sit around the same table.
They talk about the victim, the family and the perpetrator, and share information. The meeting is confidential.
Together, the meeting writes an action plan for each victim. They work best when everyone involved understands their roles and the right processes to follow.
At the heart of MARAC is the working assumption that no single agency or individual can see the complete picture of the life of a victim to be able to identify and manage the risks, but all may have insights that are crucial to their safety. The victim does not attend the meetings but is represented by an IDVA who represents their views and wishes and ensures that victim's safety remains the focus of the meeting.
What is the threshold for referral to MARAC?
1) Professional judgement- if a professional has serious concerns for the victim of a domestic abuse situation you should refer to MARAC. This need not necessarily be based on a disclosure from a victim, although they often are, it could also be due to concerns about surrounding circumstances which cause the professional to believe that there is ongoing abuse which needs to be addressed.
2) Clear high risk= fourteen or more ticks on the RIC checklist
3) Potential escalation- Cumbria Police assess all domestic abuse reports and if there is a clear escalation of incidents, involving repeat calls for service and escalation of violence, we will refer that case to MARAC.
Should I make a referral to MARAC?
All professionals have a duty of care to victims of domestic abuse and their families. Professional agencies must ensure that immediate safeguarding actions are put in place to safeguard high risk victims and their families.
Information sharing must be justifiable and proportionate and based on the potential or actual harm to adults or children at risk. All rationale for decision making (for cases that are referred and cases where referral is considered and discounted) should be recorded.
When a victim of abuse is identified as being at high risk of serious harm or homicide there must be a coordinated, multi-agency response, where all agencies can share relevant information to develop an action plan that is comprehensive, robust and addresses the risk to all parties. The pupose of this response is to safeguard victims and children that are affected by domestic abuse.
If you are aware that an incident has occurred which poses an immediate safeguarding risk this is something which you have a duty of care to report to police to allow further safeguarding to be put into place and positive action to be taken.
If there is an immediate safeguarding risk or unreported crimes this must be reported directly to police on 101 or 999 in an emergency and not through MARAC. You may still make a MARAC referral, but you must ensure that the risk has been addressed by the police before doing so.
How do I make a referral to MARAC?
- Ensure that you have read and understood the guidance on the SAFE LIVES referral form and RIC. They contain essential advice and guidance to ensure that professional agencies are able to obtain all the relevant information required for submission to MARAC, and to help ensure that the victim is safeguarded.
- Complete a SAFE LIVES referral form.
- Complete a SAFE LIVES RISK IDENTIFICATION CHECKLIST (RIC)
- Ensure that all risk has been addressed and all crimes have previously been reported to police - if they have not they must contact police and report those matters for safeguarding to be addressed and crimes to be recorded and investigated.
- If you are satisfied that the threshold for MARAC is reached and that all immediate safeguarding has been addressed complete the MARAC referral form and RIC
What needs to be included on the referral?
You must ensure that you have completed both the referral form and the RIC. The forms will not be processed if both documents are not completed in full.
Provide a full rationale and explanation for your referral in the blank box provided on the referral form. This must include:
- Why are you making this referral - whether this is due to a RIC score or on a professional judgement, and if on professional judgement please explain why.
- As much detail as possible and where that information has come from, whether directly to you from the victim, or through one of your agents or another party
- Information regarding the current risk posed to the victim and to any children
- Information regarding any incidents that have been disclosed, including when, where, injuries sustained threats, damage caused, children present
- What safeguarding have you as an agency put in place to safeguard the victim? Have you shared the information regarding immediate risk or unreported crimes with police? If not do so before submitting your MARAC referral.
Risk Identified Checklist (RIC)
The check list of twenty four questions can be answered yes/no/don't know. Attempt to provide detail for each answered based on current information and risk in the box provided. The RIC should always be completed and submitted with the referral form even if it does not meet the fourteen tick threshold.