AN INITIATIVE to protect children and adults at the greatest risk of domestic abuse has had a major impact on reducing repeat incidents.
Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferencing (MARAC) brings together the agencies involved in protecting and supporting the highest-risk victims to share information, update on actions taken and plan further work.
Since it was introduced in 2007, there have been 44% fewer police call outs to MARAC cases and 37% made no further calls to police.
Adult Social Services Executive Member Lynn Hardwick said: “MARAC reflects the existing level of co-operation between the county council, police and other agencies through the work of the Cheshire Domestic Abuse Partnership.
“These statistics show the initiative is having a real impact on tackling the most serious cases of domestic abuse in Cheshire.
“We are committed to building on this as we continue our work to support and protect those at risk of harm from domestic abuse.”
Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan, who leads police work on domestic abuse, said: “This is a significant achievement because we know that MARAC cases are the most serious domestic abuse cases we deal with, and invariably involve many repeat incidents.
“Cheshire Constabulary is committed to the partnership work that is needed to ensure victims are safe.
“The police have a vital role to play in responding to calls and in holding perpetrators to account but the involvement of many other agencies is vital to keeping victims safe.”
MARAC is chaired by police and co-ordinated by managers of Domestic Abuse Family Safety Units commissioned by the partnership and employed through Cheshire County Council to support vulnerable families.
It has been in place in West Cheshire since April 2007 and East Cheshire since October 2007.
The partnership brings together all frontline services including police, health, social care, education, housing, probation, CPS, local authorities, community safety partnerships, refuges, Victim Support, NSPCC and Domestic Abuse Family Safety Units.
Advocates within the units particularly support victims acting as witnesses in court cases. Cheshire has two Specialist Domestic Violence Courts in Crewe and Chester.
One victim said: “At the court I felt supported and just having that person there to believe in you makes a whole lot of difference.”
Anyone needing support for themselves or someone they are concerned about can contact the Family Safety Units on 01606 351375.