MARAC Practice Standards

Trafford MARAC Practice Standards for Chairs and Attendees

MARAC is a Multi- Agency Risk Assessment Conference, which combines up to date risk information with a timely assessment of a victim’s needs. The MARAC process identifies and links the provision of appropriate services for victims and their children (if any) in domestic abuse cases. 

The responsibility to take appropriate actions rests with individual agencies; it is not transferred to the MARAC process. The role of MARAC is to facilitate, monitor and evaluate effective information sharing to enable appropriate actions to be taken to increase victim, children and public safety.

It must be noted that agencies do not have to wait until a case has been discussed at MARAC before taking action. It may be relevant for a victim to receive help prior to the meeting and information regarding this brought to MARAC.

This following guidance is for those individuals who attend Trafford MARAC as representatives from key agencies and builds on GM MARAC Operating protocol/guidance.  

Trafford’s practice standards are not a replacement of the GM MARAC Protocol and are in place to support these standards and expectations. The Trafford MARAC Operating Protocol works in conjunction with other safeguarding public protection and information sharing protocols in operation.

The Need for a Multi-Agency Approach

The MARAC exists as a tool to facilitate effective information sharing and action planning to keep residents safe. 

No one partner holds all the information required to effectively assess the needs of victims and their children, or to fully assess the risk of serious harm or murder to victims.

In the majority of cases the support of more than one agency is required to ensure the longer term safety of the victim and their children. There would need to be a wrap-around, holistic approach

Clear information sharing creates a supportive structure to ensure improved outcomes across services

MARAC should not be used as a tool to escalate cases through the system, whether it is housing, social care assessments or other services – this can be done outside of the MARAC. 

Criteria for MARAC

Visible High Risk

The Safe Lives DASH risk identification checklist is being used. 14 ticks in the yes box will meet the MARAC referral criteria. GMP use the NPCC DASH which is 27 questions and their referrals are based on professional judgement.

Professional Judgement

If an agency has serious concerns about a victim’s situation they should refer to MARAC. There will be occasions where the particular context of a case gives rise to serious concerns even if the victim has been unable to disclose the information that might highlight their risk more clearly.  This could reflect one event or extreme levels of fear, cultural barriers to disclosure, immigration issues or language barriers particularly in cases of ‘honour’- based violence, pregnancy, strangulation and children under three.  This judgment should be based on the professionals experience and/or the victims’ perception of risk even if they do not meet the above stated criteria.  Any member of any agency should refer if they assess that in their professional judgment there is potentially serious risk of harm.

Escalation

The number of police callouts to the victim as a result of domestic abuse. This can be used to identify cases where there is not a positive indicator of a majority of risk factors on the list, but where the abuse appears to be escalating and where it is appropriate to assess the situation more fully by sharing information at the MARAC.

Repeat Cases

A case should be referred back to MARAC if there is ANY instance of abuse between the same victim and perpetrator(s), within 12 months of the last referral to MARAC.

The individual act of abuse does not need to be ‘criminal’, violent or threatening but should be viewed within the context of a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour.

Some events that might be considered a ‘repeat’ incident may include, but are not limited to:

Unwanted direct or indirect contact from the perpetrator and/or their friends or family

  • A breach of police or court bail conditions
  • A breach of any civil court order between the victim and perpetrator
  • Any dispute between the victim and perpetrator(s) including over child contact, property, divorce/ separation proceedings, etc.
  • These events could be disclosed to any service or agency including, but not exclusive to, health care practitioners (including mental health), domestic abuse specialists, police, substance misuse services, housing providers etc.

All agencies should be identifying Repeat cases through their flagging and tagging process within their organisational systems and referring them through the MARAC process.

Trafford MARAC model and role of the Trafford MARAC Chair

  • Trafford MARAC will be held weekly on a Wednesday at 9.30am.
  • Trafford MARAC will hear a maximum of 12/13 cases allowing 15 mins for each case.
  • Trafford MARAC will be co- chaired by representatives of the Police, Children’s and Adults Social Care and by Manchester Foundation NHS Trust, for a fixed term of six weeks rotating. Each Agency must have an identified deputy chair from their home agency.
  • All Trafford MARAC Chairs and deputy chairs will ensure they have received appropriate training and induction prior to the commencement of the Chairing role. (see training section below)
  • Each Partnership agency will ensure protected time is allocated to Chairs in order to achieve training and induction requirements. All Trafford MARAC Chairs and deputy Chairs are able to evidence appropriate training and induction if required. (see training section below).
  • The role of the Trafford MARAC Chair is to facilitate the discussion in a timely manner and to ensure that the Risk Management Action plan for each person is formulated and robust. The MARAC chair is not the person responsible for the decision making this remains shared amongst the partnership- these are ‘MARAC recommendations/actions’ as a collective.
  • The newly established Trafford Domestic Abuse Coordinator role has been identified to support the Trafford MARAC and Chair role with relevant Agency information sharing, as needed.
  • The Trafford MARAC Chair has the opportunity to review referrals on SharePoint before the MARAC meeting to enable them to become familiar with the cases and to ask any additional questions.
  • The Chair will give all agencies the opportunity, at the beginning of the MARAC meeting, to declare if any actions from the previous meeting have not been completed.
  • At the end of each six week rotation, Chairs will hand over as appropriate.

Induction, Training and Supervision for MARAC Chair role

All identified Chairs and deputy Chairs will be offered induction and training (prior to commencement of role).

GM DA Coordinator has been identified to provide this induction and training due to their knowledge and expertise in this arena.

GM DA Coordinator has indicated a full day’s MARAC Chair’s training, split into two sessions, would be appropriate, to support the Chairing role. The focus of this training will be:

  • Domestic Abuse – typology and definition
  • Coercive and Controlling Behaviour, Stalking
  • High Risk DA Factors and Non-Fatal Strangulation
  • Lived experience of the Child
  • Chairing the MARAC Meeting and Action Planning
  • Domestic Abuse Bill 2020
  • Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme
  • Domestic Violence Protection Notices and Orders and Civil Orders

GM DA Coordinator has agreed to provide Trafford MARAC Chairs and Deputy Chairs with quarterly group peer supervision.

Funding for the above has been identified to come from the Community Safety budget.

Structure of the meeting

The Police have kindly agreed to continue to administer and coordinate Trafford MARAC i.e. uploading of referrals, agendas, minutes, action plans etc.

Commencement of the meeting

  • The Chair will welcome the participants and ask them to sign the confidentiality statement.
  • The Chair will then read the confidentiality statement in full.
  • The Chair will request agencies to advise if, for any reason, they were unable to complete any of the actions from the previous MARAC.

Repeat cases

Any repeat cases should be heard first.

  • Chair will ask the referring agency to give brief details of the reason for the referral, whether the victim’s situation has changed and whether they have identified any new risk to the victim.
  • Chair will then ask IDVA whether the victim’s situation has changed and if there are any new risks that they are aware of.
  • Chair will then remind agencies of the date of the last MARAC when the case was discussed and ask any agency who has had contact with the victim or perpetrator since the last meeting to give brief details of that contact.
  • Chair will then review the previous action plan to identify what has worked and then actions will be developed to address any new risk.

New cases

  • Chair will introduce the case by stating the names of the victim and the alleged perpetrator, the referring agency, how many children there are believed to be in the household and whether or not the case has been referred with the victim’s consent.
  • Chair will ask the referring agency to give brief details of the reason for the referral, and to share any relevant information they may hold.
  • Chair will then ask IDVA for details of their contact with the victim
  • Chair will then ask each agency in turn whether they have any relevant information.
  • When all the information has been shared the Chair will summarise the risk.
  • Agencies are then asked to volunteer actions and timescales for completion to address that risk.
  • Chair will then close the case by checking with all present: 
    • that there are no equality or diversity issues that have been missed
    • Who will be giving the feedback to the victim? This is usually the IDVA but sometimes if a victim is reluctant to engage with IDVA it may be another agency
  • Summarise the risks identified and actions agreed.

Role of Trafford MARAC attendees

  • All representatives who attend MARAC should hold a position within their agency which affords them the ability to make key decision, agree actions, and ensure these actions are carried out on behalf of their agency. The relevant participants must be able to agree funding decisions or have direct access to a manager to allow quick funding decision to be made.
  • All representatives who attend Trafford MARAC should be able to evidence they have attended up to date DA Training annually. Currently, TDAS, TSSP and Single Agencies offer DA Training for participants to access locally.
  • The core MARAC agencies required to attend for the duration of every meeting include; GMP, IDVA service, Housing, Children’s Social Care, Adult Social Care, Probation and Community Rehabilitation Company, Health, Mental Health, Achieve (drug and alcohol services), and any other relevant statutory or voluntary agencies.  As a requirement, all attendees shall read and sign Trafford MARAC’s New Starters Induction Pack. (Confidentiality Agreement, Local Practice Standards, GM MARAC Protocol)

MARAC attendance expectations

To ensure that the MARAC meeting is seamless and timely it is important that each member of the meeting adheres to both the meeting structure as set out above and the following expectations:

  • All referring agencies are responsible for presenting the case to the MARAC meeting. If an agency refers a case to MARAC a representative must attend the meeting.
  • Each agency must have a deputy who is able to attend the meeting in the absence of the agency’s representative.  In unprecedented emergency circumstances in which attendance is not possible each agency must inform the chair of the meeting prior to non-attendance
  • All attendees must actively participate in the meeting to ensure that there is a multi-agency approach in the development of the risk assessments and action planning in each case heard at MARAC.
  • All attendees should share relevant information which is held by their agencies and identify any further risks which they are aware of. That information should be relevant, proportionate, succinct and focussed.  
  • All attendees are responsible for recording the agreed actions for their agency during the meeting to ensure that the actions from the meeting are quickly and appropriately disseminated within their service and completed in a timely fashion.
  • All attendees are expected to have done their research prior to the meeting and be familiar with the reason for the referral. The DASH risk assessment must be considered at all meetings and be read prior to attendance.

Expectations following MARAC meeting

It is the responsibility of all attendees to ensure that following is completed after every MARAC meeting;

  • All attendees will ensure that all agreed actions for their agency and relevant information from the MARAC meeting are recorded on their agencies information management systems.
  • All attendees will ensure that either they action or task others within their organisations to carrying out agreed actions from MARAC meeting.

All attendees are responsible for monitoring agreed actions to ensure that they are completed within the agreed timescales set at the MARAC meeting.

Further resources

MARAC referral form

Submit a referral to Trafford's MARAC